Three individuals were inducted in 2009 – Roderick Ferguson, Colin Ferguson and John E. White.
Donald Roderick Ferguson
Colin Richard William Ferguson
Rod and Colin were born in St. Thomas and attended Dewar’s School, St. Thomas Collegiate Institute. Colin also attended University of Guelph on a 2 year course, while Rod stayed on the family farm, north of
St. Thomas, working with their father.
Rod married Margaret Martyn in 1960 and had four children, Mac, Don, Katie and Rod.
Colin married Joyce Kibbler in 1960 and have three children, Jeff, Joanne and John.
Rod and Colin farmed together for 40 years north of St. Thomas. In the 1960’s they built a business, Ferguson Bros. of St. Thomas Ltd, as growers and processors of coloured beans, such as: Cranberrys, Yellow Eyes, Light and Dark Red Kidneys and White Kidney beans. They were the first to import Cranberry bean seed into Canada. This gave area farmers different crops to grow and these products in turn opened new world markets, such as Italy, which was a major importer of Cranberry beans.
In the early 1980’s, Colin and Rod along with 3 other groups as shareholders, founded Strathroy Foods, a frozen food company in Strathroy. This plant started as the Green Giant plant in London was closing, allowing many local farmers to still be able to grow alternative crops to the regular cash crops of wheat, corn and soybeans. The company originally employed approximately 30 people and today it’s closer to 150. Strathroy Foods experienced changes over the years, when in the 1990’s, Carriere Foods purchased about 70% of the company shares. Bonduelle Foods purchased 100% of the shares in 2007.
In the late 80’s and early 90’s, as their families became more involved in the business, Colin bought Rod’s shares in Ferguson Bros. of St. Thomas Ltd. and they divided their farming business.
Rod and his son Mac have been farming together for the last 20 years south of St. Thomas growing corn, wheat, soybeans and vegetable crops of sweet corn, green and yellow beans.
Colin and his three children Jeff, Joanne, and John have farmed together for 20 years and operate the bean business: Ferguson Bros. of St. Thomas Ltd. Today Colin and family work with farmers within a 100 mile radius who grow beans for Ferguson Bros. and the product is shipped worldwide to places such as; Japan, Italy, South Africa, Jamaica, Portugal, Spain, Croatia, USA and domestically.
Both Rod and Colin are 50 year members of the Belmont Lodge, on the Knox Presbyterian Church Board,
Shriners, Colin being Shrine Jester, members of the Integrated Grain Processors Co-operative in Aylmer.
Further involvement in the community includes:
Rod: Deputy Reeve of the Municipality of Yarmouth
Elgin County Council
Member of the Kettle Creek Conservation Authority
Former member of the Jockey Club of Canada having a 25 year interest in Thoroughbred Horses
Colin: Belmont Minor Hockey Board
Glanworth Optimist Club
St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital Board
Corn Producers Director
Bean Producers Director
Eat Fresh, Buy Local Map
Rod and Colin are still involved in local agriculture and their families still share resources and knowledge and enjoy collaborating on various projects.
John E. White
John was born in Copenhagen, in Township of Malahide. He attended Copenhagen Public School, East Elgin Secondary School, and graduated from Ridgetown College in 1956. He worked in partnership with his father in mixed farming on Jamestown Line. That farm was sold, as they purchased and moved to the present farm in Mapleton in 1959. In 1969 John purchased the farm from his father.
John and his wife June were married in 1983 and between them, have 6 children.
Valleystream Jerseys was established in 1960 as John A White & Son. Classification and production testing began at that time. In 1963 and 1964 the herd had the distinction of, highest average production in Canada, and one cow completed back to back all time high Canadian milk records as a Sr. yearling and a Sr. 2 yr. old. In the mid 60’s the herd was the first to qualify for a Constructive Breeder award with all artificially inseminated daughters. The herd also qualified for the Constructive Breeder award from 1984 to 2003 consecutively. In 1983, he was awarded the Master Breeder Award. He had the highest composite herd average for Canada from 1984 to 1997.
Through the 80’s and 90’s, dozens of records were established by the Valleystream herd. All-Time milk, fat and protein records by the cows, and Bulls plus proven for both production and type bred.
In 1985, the Treasures of Valleystream Sale established several sales records including dispersal average price. All animals on the farm were offered with most lots paired.
John exhibited at local club shows every year from 1956 to 2003, 48 consecutive years. In 1956, John was awarded the High 4-H Jersey Calf Club Member Award.
In 2000, for the first time outside the U.S.A, the Michigan Jersey Association awarded Valleystream their prestigious Distinguished Service Award.
Live animals, embryos or semen have been exported from Valleystream to literally every country around the world that has a significant Jersey population.
Throughout the years, Valleystream has hosted countless social functions; Hilda Day, local and college school tours, 4-H meetings, local barn tours, judging schools, International tours, Jersey picnics, and a shunpiker tour. John was the founding President of the New Sarum Public School Home and School in 1969.
Further involvement within his community includes:
Secretary-Treasurer of Elgin Jersey Club
President of Elgin Jersey Club
President of Western Ontario Jersey Club
East Elgin 4-H leader
Directors of Western Ontario Breeders
President of W.O.B.I.
President Ontario Association Animal Breeders (Semex)
President of Aylmer and East Elgin Agricultural Society
President of Ontario Jersey Club, (Director 1977 – 1983)
Chairman of Elgin County Milk Committee
President Western Fair Association (Director 1986 – present)
President Jersey Canada (Director 1995-2004)
Judged many club shows in Canada, Australia, Denmark, New Zealand, United
Kingdom, Brazil, U.S.A., Kenya
Speaker at many domestic Jersey functions as well as dairy industry meetings.
John says, 4-H taught him how to be articulate, be a leader, be an individual, be a winner, but most importantly to be a graceful loser. Learning that one can not always be a winner and be the first in one’s class was one of the best life lessons, and one that youth need to learn more of in today’s world.