The Manitoba Agricultural Hall of Fame was established in 1976.
The first steps of forming an Agricultural Hall of Fame were taken in spring of 1974. The Farm Bureau of Manitoba, the Manitoba Farmer’s Union, the Agricultural Extension Centre of Brandon, and the Manitoba Agricultural Museum of Austin, were approached to form and proceed with the formation of an agricultural hall of fame. However, no action was taken, and it would be two years before a group of interested agriculturists took it into their own hands to form the Agricultural Hall of Fame. These individuals met with the Directors of the Manitoba Agricultural Museum Inc., in February or March of 1976. The outcome of this meeting resulted in the granting of space for the Hall of Fame Gallery in the Heritage Building of the Manitoba Agricultural Museum. In return the Museum was assured of representation on the Provisional Board of Directors of the Hall of Fame.
In March, 1976 interested individuals met at the Agricultural Extension Centre in Brandon, and formed a provisional Board, 1976.
The Provisional Board 1976 included:
Tully McKenzie, Chairman
William Moncur, Secretary-Treasurer
John T. McGregor
Meetings were held in the Agricultural Extension Centre at Brandon with the help of John Neabel, the Principal of the Agricultural Extension Centre and Faye Barkwell, his Secretary. They helped the Provisional Board. The first business facing the board was to secure a Clearance of Title, a Charter and Constitution and draft a set of By-laws. This was achieved through the assistance of Keith Mitchell, legal advisor.
The Provisional Board made an appeal to the Manitoba Government, agri-industries, financial institutions and farm organizations for financing. Favourable financial assistance was received from these groups that made the operation of the Hall of Fame possible. A $5,000 grant from the Department of Agriculture was received, which was given on the stipulation that donations from the agri-industries and organizations matched this figure. This amount was matched and bettered.
All of the organizations contacted were asked to mail in the name of a delegate to vote at an organizational meeting called for November 12, 1976 to choose a Provincial Board of Directors. To insure a representative turnout, all agricultural organizations, agri-industries, Women’s Institutes, etc., were notified. On November 12, 1976 the Provincial Board of Directors of the Manitoba Agricultural Hall of Fame Inc., was elected. The organizational meeting of the Provincial Board of Directors was held at the Agricultural Extension Centre in Brandon. The guest speaker for the event was Dr. Grant McEwan, former Manitoban who now resides in Calgary, one time Dean of Agriculture for the University of Manitoba and a well known agricultural historian.
It was the responsibility of this Board to carry out the aims and objectives of the Agricultural Hall of Fame as set forth by the Provisional Board. In view of this, the new Board sent out nomination forms to agri-organizations in the hope that deserving individuals would receive recognition.
Each year as new individuals are accepted into the Agricultural Hall of Fame, they are formally inducted at an official Dedication Ceremony. The first of which was held on July 26, 1978, when 15 individuals were honoured in addition to paying tribute to Pioneer Women of Manitoba.
By 1985, the Boards were concerned with the large numbers of nominees that they had to consider to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. After looking at all the names and their histories the Selections Committee attempted to prioritize the names. They began to consider a category for Honourable Mention, and also questioned the statement in the criteria “earliest pioneer contributions” when we are asked to consider those who are living. The Board recommended that the Selection Committee Bring to the next Board meeting their selections to be inducted into the Hall of Fame and their recommendations on what to do about the large number of nominees and a Roll of Honour. At the Board meeting of February 20, 1986 the Board approved of the recommendations of the Selection Committee on how to deal with the 23 names of nominees. They considered more categories: Honourable Mention, and Held for Future Consideration.
At the Annual Meeting April 17, 1986 six people were named for induction into the Hall of Fame. At the same Dedication Ceremony twelve people were to be named to a Roll of Honour. At the Annual meeting of April 17, 1987 the Article X (6 -b) was added to the By-laws. Those people deemed to not fully meet the criteria as set forth in 6 (a) but considered to be deserving of recognition by the Hall of Fame shall have their names placed on the Roll of Honour Book. If further meaningful information is provided, those placed on the Roll of Honour are not exempt from future consideration for placement in the Hall of Fame Gallery”. In the year 1987 our lawyer and the Revenue Canada Department investigated the legal relationship of the Heritage Fund Manitoba Hall of Fame Inc., organization and the Government. Thus in May 1987 after some discussion by the Board the Funds from the Heritage Fund were transferred into the account of the Manitoba Agricultural Hall of Fame Inc., and the former heritage organization was dissolved.
A few changes occurred over the years. In 1978 it was decided that four new directors from the Board of twelve should be elected each year to replace those who stepped down. Thus it started the policy of a person serving three years and then stepping down for one year before serving on the Board again.
For the first time in 1990, a man and wife were both included on one plaque. It was an idea that was encouraged by many, as the need for a supportive mate was usually essential to the person who was being inducted.
The Gallery of the Hall of Fame had four homes, the Heritage Building of the Manitoba Agricultural Museum, the Pioneer Room of the Keystone Centre in Brandon and the Dining Hall of the Agricultural Extension Centre in Brandon and now has after the decrease in the use of the Agricultural Centre for large meetings, and the closure of the Dining Hall the Manitoba Agricultural Hall of Fame Gallery is housed in the Keystone Centre in the hallway outside the Manitoba Room.