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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 Donald M. Rutherford

Rutherford, Donald M

- 1993

Inducted: October 27, 1993

Don Rutherford applied a buoyant optimism tempered with realism to his work as Kent County Agricultural Representative, a combination that helped county farmers through a decade of significant development.

His creed, as expressed to Kent farmers was, "You can never go forward unless you are willing to take a chance." It was a guide to living particularly applicable to farming in a high investment county like Kent.

Mr. Rutherford was not a person to exaggerate the weather problems inherent to farming in Kent. His reaction to alarmist reports was always to recommend waiting for a few weeks, to allow time and mother nature to modify the damage.

Mr. Rutherford was born on a 240-acre dairy and cash crop farm in Northumberland County, and received his elementary education at a rural school, his secondary, at Colborne High School. He graduated from the Kemptville Agricultural College in 1948 and from the Ontario Agricultural College, in Animal Husbandry, three years later.

Mr. Rutherford's first appointment to the Ontario Agriculture Extension Branch was as Assistant Agricultural Representative in Dundas County from 1951-1955. This was followed by three years as Dundas Agricultural Representative.

Mr. Rutherford's appointment as Kent Agricultural Representative in 1958 brought him to a different farming area with different challenges and opportunities. At that time, vertical integration was seen by many as a threat to the family farm. The development of strong farm organizations was felt to be necessary to counter that threat. Mr. Rutherford helped a great deal to promote these organizations.

In Kent, Mr. Rutherford found farmers who were taking leadership roles in the development of farm marketing boards and associations.

While in Chatham, Mr. Rutherford was an Elder of St. Andrew's United Church, and taught a teenage Sunday School group there. He was also a member and a Director of the Chatham Rotary Club for eight years.

Agriculturally, he was President of the Southwestern Ontario Branch of the Ontario Institute of Agrologists, a member of the O.I.A. Council and its President.

When he left Chatham and the Extension Service, Mr. Rutherford joined the Plant Food Council of Ontario at Mississauga, and later worked for the Canadian Wheat Board in Ottawa.

In 1975, Mr. Rutherford joined the Sylvite Division of the Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting Company as Canadian Sales Manager. Three years later, he joined Alex Henry, a Kent County native and General Manager of the Sylvite Division in Sylvite Sales Inc..

This partnership continued until Mr. Rutherford retired from the company on December 31, 1985. Since his retirement from other business interests in 1987, he and his wife, Jean, have spent their summers at Bobcaygeon, their winters in Florida. The Rutherfords have a son and two daughters.

Twenty-five years after leaving Kent, Mr. Rutherford was remembered by many friends for all that he had been to Kent County. One of them said, "It's impossible to measure the contributions he made as an Agricultural Representative. He was the right man at the right time."