Inducted: November 29, 1989
Lawrence Kerr applied a bright and inquiring mind to practical farming to achieve results that have benefited his community and his country.
Mr. Kerr was born in Camden Township; and attended Dresden Continuation School and Chatham Collegiate Institute before graduating from the Ontario Agricultural College in 1929. For the next five years, he added to his technical knowledge as an Assistant and Acting Agricultural Representative for the Ontario Department of Agriculture in Bruce, York, Frontenac and Lennox and Addington counties.
Mr. Kerr returned to Kent in 1934 to 132 acres just south of Chatham in Harwich Township. This, and subsequent land acquisitions gave him ample opportunity to experiment, developing management techniques later adopted by other farmers.
Kerr Farms became a showplace that attracted visitors from around the world. Russian delegations, looking for ways to increase productivity, visited in 1955 and 1964. Closer to home, Ministers and Deputy Ministers of Agriculture from across Canada often came to Kerr Farms.
One of Mr. Kerr's deepest concerns was land conservation, and his cultural practices reflected that concern. In 1983, the Soil Conservation Society of America presented him with an Award of Honor, recognizing all he had done for land and water conservation.
In 1960, Mr. Kerr was given a Fellowship in the Agricultural Institute of Canada (F.A.I.C.), its highest honour given for contributions of national significance to agriculture.
Five years later, he was named a Robertson Associate by the Canadian Seed Growers' Association. In 1977, he received the Queen Elizabeth II Silver Anniversary Commemorative Medal.
Mr. Kerr was President of the Kent County Hog Producers' Association from 1945-1951; founding President of the Kent County
Soil and Crop Improvement Association; a past Director of the Ontario Sugar Beet Growers' Marketing Board; and a District Director of the Ontario Seed Corn Growers' Marketing Board.
Mr. Kerr has maintained an unflagging interest in the Ontario Agricultural College and its successor, the University of Guelph. He was a member of the O.A.C. Advisory Board from 1950-1955; and a member of the University of Guelph Board of Directors from 1964-1972.
Mr. Kerr was Vice-Chairman of the Board of Regents of the Federated Colleges from 1962-1965. He was installed as a Fellow of the University in 1973; and received an O.A.C. Centennial Medal at the Centennial International Seminar in l974. The government has called on him to serve on committees studying crucial questions: The Flue-Cured Tobacco Industry; Costs of Education; and the committees that culminated in the founding of the University of Guelph.
His honours have been numerous. In l954, the Kent-Japanese Canadian Citizens' Association recognized his help in the adjustment of Canadians of Japanese ancestry when they were relocated in Kent County in 1942.
Mr. Kerr was designated Agriculturalist of the Year by the Chatham and District Chamber of Commerce in 1981; and in 1983, the Kent Federation of
Agriculture gave him its Meritorious Award for his work in the betterment of
agriculture. In 1988, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food presented him with one of its Centennial Awards.