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In 1988, the Kent Agricultural Hall of Fame was created to honour those that demonstrated unselfish achievement within the realm of agriculture and service to the rural community.
Photo image of Nellie C. Johnston

Johnston, Nellie C.

- 1989

Inducted: November 29, 1989

Nellie Johnston was "Nellie J" to the thousands of farmers who came to the Ontario Department of Agriculture offices in Chatham for help or advice during the 36 years she worked there.

Miss Johnston was born in Port Burwell, but raised on a farm near Prairie Siding where she had her first experience with Kent County agriculture. After her graduation from the Ursuline College in Chatham and the London Normal School she taught in a rural school for six years.

Miss Johnston's training at the Canada Business College in Chatham enabled her to make a career change; and she joined the Department of Agriculture in Chatham on October 31, 1929.

When she started working there, agriculture was facing the Great Depression, one of its worst testing periods. Organized farm marketing and mechanization were still in the future.

By the time Miss Johnston retired on February 26, 1965, Kent County farmers had taken full advantage of technological progress and of the opportunity to unite to get better prices for their crops.

Miss Johnston, in her contacts with farmers over that transitional period, was soft-spoken, unfailingly courteous and well-informed about farming developments. World War II brought added responsibilities to the Chatham office, as 850 prisoners-of-war were brought into Kent to meet a serious farm labour shortage.

Four Agricultural Representatives--Jim Garner, Fred Campbell, Ken Lantz and Don Rutherford respected her, and relied on her sound judgement.

Miss Johnston continued in her early retirement to be Secretary-Treasurer of the Ontario Red Triangle Baby Beef Association and the Kent County
Vegetable Growers' Association.

She was honoured by the Kent Federation of Agriculture in 1981 with its Meritorious Award.