Inducted: November 28, 1990
Leonard A. Pegg abandoned a successful career as a newspaper reporter and editor to go into farming, taking with him an inquiring mind that made him an innovator in his new career.
Mr. Pegg, in the transition from copy desk to tractor, also brought with him writing abilities, since put to good use in the service of agriculture. He was the author of "Pulling Tassels," the first comprehensive record of the development of the seed corn industry in Ontario; and of a history of the Ontario Red Triangle Baby Beef Association, now in the archives of the Ontario Agricultural Museum at Milton.
He also acted as editor of the Ontario Petroleum Institute publication, and in that role, gave expression to farmers' concerns over the leasing of agricultural land for exploration.
Mr. Pegg was born in Blenheim, the son of Arthur and Lila Knight Pegg. He got his first taste of newspaper life while at Blenheim High School when he worked part-time for the News Tribune. This was followed by work for the Windsor Star, and later as editor and part owner of the News Tribune.
It was in that job that Mr. Pegg started to learn more about farming, as he reported on the introduction of hybrid corn to Ontario and the development of the Ridgetown Experimental Farm.
His practical initiation into farming in 1946 on a farm purchased in Howard Township at New Scotland gave him the opportunity to convert ideas into reality. He was the first in that area to farm without horses; and he pioneered in the use of cyanamide, ammonium nitrate and anhydrous ammonia.
Mr. Pegg built his own spray equipment; and helped set up demonstrations for the Kent County Soil and Crop Improvement Association and the Ridgetown College of Agricultural Technology to show the benefits of herbicides and pesticides.
From the first, one of his primary interests was in beef cattle and as the owner of a fine herd. He was active in the Aberdeen Angus Club and a charter member of the Ontario Red Triangle Baby Beef Association.
Mr. Pegg was also an enthusiastic soil conservationist, an interest that was given practical expression in the conversion of badly-eroded soils on his own farm to grassland. As a member of the Howard Fraleigh Grass Club, he saw the benefits of trefoil in pasture programmes; and more recently of the Rondeau Bay Watershed Agricultural Steering Committee, which has been instrumental in promoting the conservation of good farmlands across the province.
Mr. Pegg found other practical ways to demonstrate his dedication to agriculture. As a member of Howard Township's first Planning Board, he helped develop an official land use plan which restated a policy of the primacy of agriculture in that township. On behalf of the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association, and of Kent County, he had an influence in the development of provincial planning legislation dealing with urban expansion.
In both the urban and the rural segments of his life, he has maintained an active interest in his church. At 18, he was Superintendent of Blenheim United Church Sunday School; and served on many church organizations. He continued this interest and activity as an Elder at New Scotland United Church.
The Pegg farm, now run by two sons, Dennis and Charles, has a Simmental breeding herd and a crop rotation of corn, soybeans and wheat. The Peggs also have two daughters, Mrs. Andy (Martha Mary) Cochrane, of Huntsville; and Mrs. Craig (Rose Marie) Mitton, of Ridgetown.
Mr. Pegg has received many awards, among them as the 1984 "Agriculturalist of the Year" of the Blenheim District Chamber of Commerce, and as an Honorary Life Member of the Ontario Institute of Agrologists in 1989.