Dona Stewardson received the honour
By Diego Flammini
Since the Lambton Agricultural Hall of Fame inducted its first of 16 members back in 2010, a woman has never been part of the hall of fame class.
As part of the class of 2021, retired Lambton Shores resident Dona Stewardson is the first woman to enter the local ag hall of fame.
“To the colleagues on the boards of the committees I was elected or appointed to over the years, I wish to thank you for your support as well as treating me as an equal,” she said during a virtual ceremony. “If ever there was a glass ceiling for me, either I did not notice, or I just crashed through it.”
Stewardson grew up on a farm and married a farmer. Along with her husband, Don, the couple purchased their first 100-acre farm in Bosanquet Township in 1957.
The farm had hens, hogs and 10 Holstein cows. Together the couple grew the farm to 600 acres and the herd size to 80 Holsteins.
Stewardson also advocated for the ag industry in multiple ways.
Within the ag community, in 1981 Stewardson was elected to the Lambton County Federation of Agriculture’s board of directors.
And in 1987 became the federation’s first female president.
She worked with OMAFRA staff and the Women’s Institute to bring Agriculture in the Classroom to Lambton.
She also represented farmers as a part of the Sarnia Chamber of Commerce’s environment committee.
“Dona’s energetic approach led her to help solve many of the rural community’s challenges, such as the formation of the Lambton Rural Childcare program,” said Blair Williamson, a member of the Lambton Federation of Agriculture’s board.
Two others joined Stewardson in the 2021 hall of fame.
Sid Fraleigh, is a former chairperson of the Lambton Pork Producers, a 4-H leader and member of the Forest Agricultural Society.
Fraleigh also served as chairperson of the Ontario Pork Producers Marketing Board and as an MP for Lambton-Middlesex in the 1970s and 80s.
From left: Sid Fraleigh,Dona Stewardson and Kevin Marriott. Lambton Federation of Agricultrure photos.
Kevin Marriott, the current warden of Lambton County, rounds out the class of 2021.
Marriott grew up on a farm where he became a leader by implementing new practices.
“Kevin was one of the first to practice no-till farming in Enniskillen Township beginning in 1988,” said Brenda Miner, a Lambton Federation of Agriculture board member.
In addition, Marriott is a founding provincial director with the Grain Farmers of Ontario, and in 2018 led a delegation to Japan to promote Canadian food-grade soybeans.