This release was issued under a previous government.
The Alberta Agriculture Hall of Fame inducts up to three Albertans every two years. This year’s inductees have a century and a half of experience between them in the greenhouse, dairy and food crop industries.
“Rural Alberta and our agricultural communities have an abundance of intriguing and innovative success stories to share. We owe a debt of gratitude to these three exceptional individuals who have devoted a lifetime to improving agricultural practices in our province.”
The Alberta Agriculture Hall of Fame’s 2014 inductees will be honoured at an evening ceremony at the Delta South Edmonton Hotel in Edmonton on October 3. The inductees include:
- Curtis Clark (posthumous)
- Gordon Hilton
- Dr. Mohyuddin Mirza
The Alberta Agriculture Hall of Fame was created to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions to the agriculture and food industry and to the development and sustainability of rural life in Alberta. The men and women named to the Hall of Fame since its inception in 1951 exemplify agricultural leadership and accomplishment.
Hall of Fame Inductee Biographies
Curtis Clark (Carstairs)
Curtis Clark’s passion for the dairy industry in Alberta spanned almost five decades. The winner of multiple awards throughout his career as a breeder, dairy judge and exhibitor, Mr. Clark was known for laying the groundwork to develop purebred breeders and superior cattle in Alberta.
With his long-time partner Lloyd Pickard and later his son Jim, he grew Acme Holsteins of Carstairs into the most traveled, well recognized Holstein herd in Western Canada.
Many say his legacy is best exemplified in the Curtis Clark Achievement Award presented annually at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto. Started in 1988, the award recognizes a winner who “exemplifies the all-around ability, sportsmanship, and dedication necessary to be respected by his fellow breeders and exhibitors.” Before he passed away in 1997 at the age of 86, Mr. Clark said in one of his last interviews, “It’s great how the boys are working together in the Holstein breed. It is surprising how far you can pull a sled if you pull together.”
Gordon Hilton (Strathmore)
Gordon Hilton’s place in the history of agriculture in Alberta began in the 1960s. A true pioneer of conservation tillage, Gordon brought one of the first no-till drills to Western Canada in 1980. His dedication and passion for the industry were evident. He worked tirelessly to educate and encourage other farmers to adopt conservation farming methods.
Today, direct seeding is practiced by the majority of farmers across Western Canada. From helping educate government to creating industry organizations and working with industry to modify and improve existing equipment, his legacy will be one where soil degradation and wind erosion have been greatly reduced throughout Alberta and beyond. His sharing of knowledge and ideas both inside and out of Alberta has had, and will continue to have, a profound impact on soil conservation and farming practices.
A true testament to his achievements can be found in him being the first farmer ever inducted into the Soil Conservation Council of Canada’s Hall of Fame in 1990.
Dr. Mohyuddin Mirza (Edmonton)
Dr. Mirza is an accomplished and visionary scientist whose practical research has invaluably impacted the greenhouse industry in Alberta. Recognized as a pioneer in introducing hydroponics production to greenhouse crops, for almost 30 years this educator, mentor, researcher, writer and problem solver played a pivotal role in building the greenhouse industry to what it is today.
Dr. Mirza received numerous awards and accolades during his decades of work within Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development. As a founding member of the Alberta Greenhouse Growers Association and adjunct professor at the University of Alberta, Dr. Mirza has been credited with inspiring new entrants into the industry. In the 1980s he helped introduce soilless crop production, an innovation that helped further built the industry.
Many say Dr. Mirza is best known as a friend to growers. Always reachable, he constantly provided time to teach and share with growers. According to one former student who was inspired by Dr. Mirza to start his own greenhouse business, “helping others succeed is his passion.”