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Essex County Agricultural Hall of Fame inducts newest member

Updated: Apr 23

Morley McLean poses with family as he in inducted in the Agriculture Hall of Fame.

A well-known farmer in the region is the latest inductee into the Essex County Agricultural Hall of Fame.


The latest inductee is Morley McLean and he was honoured last Thursday night at the Agricultural Hall in Harrow. He was the lone person to be inducted as part of the Class of 2024.


McLean thanked his wife Rose and his entire family for helping him achieve the honour. He said “my two boys,” his son and son-in-law, have picked up where he left off with his work in agriculture.


“I take my hat off to them,” said McLean. “They are a great family.”


McLean grew up on a farm on the 3rd Concession in Colchester South with father Ray and brother Calvin where they farmed soybeans, corn, wheat, tomatoes and peppers. After his father’s passing in 1984, he continued farming with his brother until 2021 with the farm now rented out. He built a home on that farm where he still resides.


Employment included starting at the Harrow Research and Development Centre in 1973, as a student. After graduation, he worked for the soybean marketing board as a technician before becoming a government employee and working in a number of departments. He retired in Nov. 2010.


Working with Abe Teich, a past Essex County Agricultural Hall of Fame inductee, McLean helped to develop new varieties of wheat. He also developed an automated bar code system for weighing and recording research samples for wheat and other departments at the Harrow Research Centre. McLean is also credited with creating a computerized accounting program for the Colchester South and Harrow Agricultural Society and building its first website.


McLean joined the Colchester South and Harrow Agricultural Society (Harrow Fair) at age 12. He started as a junior director and then, after turning 18, joined the main board. His time on the board saw him be president in 1980-1981 and 2006-2007 as well as a variety of other positions. He is currently an associate/honourary director.


His time on the board also saw the building of the new Agricultural Hall, with the former one being lost in a fire in 1981. A fire destroyed the arts and crafts building and its displays in 2006 with McLean credited for helping to rebuild that building as well.


McLean also assisted in the fundraising and building of a new washroom building near the baseball diamond in 2008.


Other awards and/or certificates McLean has received are an Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies “Agricultural Service Diploma in 1992 and a Gold Harvest Award from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in 2001.


“I’d like to say thank you to everyone,” McLean told the audience. “I really appreciate this.”


Chatham-Kent-Leamington MPP Trevor Jones noted his roots go back to growing up on a farm in Leamington.


“Farming doesn’t attract people for the money, glory or fame,” said Jones. “It’s the love of farming.”


Jones said he was glad to have served as the parliamentary secretary for the Minister of Agriculture and has skills that can transfer from there to his role as parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade.


Essex Mayor Sherry Bondy issued a statement that was read at the ceremony congratulating McLean. Rochelle Deslippe, president of the hall of fame, said she believes the night was something special and was proud to see McLean inducted at the 30th annual ceremony. Deslippe encouraged her colleagues to get involved and help the committee.


“Anyone can be on the board,” she said. “We’d like to keep it going.”


Essex County Agricultural Hall of Fame inducts newest member

By Ron Giofu

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