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See event listings and more articles in this edition of Agri-News: February 13, 2023 issue

“Our dad would have been extremely proud and honoured to be included in the 2022 Alberta Agriculture Hall of Fame, and receiving this prestigious award,” says Sandy Lewis, daughter of the late Jack Lewis. “However, he would have been very surprised as well. I can imagine his words would be ‘really, me? I don’t know about that’ or words to that effect. A grateful hearty laugh would then follow I am sure. Family. Farming. Friends. Three words we feel dad was all about. Farming was always such a huge passion of dad’s his entire life. It’s really hard to put in words his love for agriculture.”

Lewis, who was inducted posthumously, was an innovative agricultural producer, a leader in the community, and a generous supporter of agricultural education. Lewis expanded the farm his parents established to over 4,000 acres of grains, oilseeds and seed potatoes; and 1000 head of Simmental and Angus cattle at the time of his death in 2020.

The family-owned Lewis Farms was a pioneer in new farming techniques for seed potato production, including importing specialized equipment from Europe to improve production and quality. He was also a founding member of Edmonton Potato Growers, which was established in 1960.

Along with other visionaries, Lewis understood that a co-operative model of marketing potatoes and other vegetables would increase efficiencies and profitability for members. Edmonton Potato Growers is now one of the most respected and efficient potato marketing groups in North America, with export markets including Canada, the U.S., Mexico, Russia, Thailand, India, and China.

An influential advocate for the Alberta seed potato industry, for decades Lewis was an active and proud member of the Alberta Potato Commission (now Potato Growers of Alberta), and sat as a director for 4 years, and chairman for 2 of those, in the early 1980s. He worked hard to unite seed, table and process potato growers across the province.

Lewis also helped establish Lewis Farms as a Canadian leader in the breeding and production of Simmental cattle. With his children, and now grandchildren, they grew the Simmental herd to a successful purebred operation, selling an average of 300 purebred bulls per year at their annual on-farm production sale. In 2011, Lewis Farms was inducted into the Canadian Simmental Association Hall of Fame for their contributions to the industry.

Lewis saw the importance of supporting, in a tangible way, the advancement of agricultural education. He established scholarships for agriculture students at Lakeland Colleges and the University of Alberta, mentored a number of international students through the International Agricultural Exchange Association, and with the help of his wife, helped furnish Alumni House at the Lakeland Vermilion campus.

He also volunteered on the Lakeland College leadership team for its capital fundraising campaign, which raised more than $13 million, exceeding the $10 million goal. Lakeland’s data lab in the Agriculture Technology Centre is named the Lewis Farms Data Lab in honour of Lewis and his family. He was also the first person ever inducted into the college’s Alumni Wall of Distinction, and also received the Alumni Honour Award from the University of Alberta.

Lewis was generous with his time and had a fundamental belief of always giving back to his community, whether he was hauling 4-H steers to the local achievement day, or volunteering at the many Rotary events. He was also supportive of his Indigenous neighbours on the Enoch Cree Nation in their endeavours to diversify economic opportunities, and spent many hours mentoring members of the Nation as they learned large-scale potato production.

Jack Lewis joins Bruce Beattie and Simone Demers-Collins as the 2022 inductees into the Alberta Agriculture Hall of Fame.

For more information, see:

Alberta Agriculture Hall of Fame


Connect with Susan Lacombe for more information:
Phone: 780-968-6557

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