New names to hang in agricultural hall of fame

Three of the six 2017 inductees into the Saskatchewan Agricultural Hall of Fame were announced at Canadian Western Agribition last month.

Tim Oleksyn

Tim Oleksyn, who ranches and farms near Shellbrook, said he was humbled to be recognized for his work to bring producers, industry and academics together to make sure beef research is on the right track.

“For some reason they just all take my calls,” he said after the announcement.

Oleksyn has been chair of the Western Beef Development Centre and the Beef Cattle Research Council. He has been on several other boards and committees and is currently on the fundraising committee for the new Livestock and Forage Centre of Excellence in Saskatoon.

He said he believed it was important to keep the information flowing between researchers and ranchers, and young people are now stepping into his role.

“We’ve got a lot to do yet,” he said.

Art Mainil

Dale Mainil isn’t quite sure how his late uncle, Art Mainil, would react to being inducted into the hall.

Art, who farmed near Benson, was often at the forefront, whether it was spearheading the first producer-owned inland grain terminal at Weyburn or challenging the Canadian Wheat Board’s export monopoly.

“He was never looking for recognition,” said Dale. “It wasn’t about him. It was about results.”

He would be honoured to know that others thought he did his part to make agriculture more profitable and sustainable, his nephew added.

“He was very passionate about farming, and most people don’t understand he believed in the youth.”

Mainil was a founder of the Palliser Wheat Growers Association, founding president of Weyburn Inland Terminal and a promoter and user of producer cars. He died in November 2011.

George Cooper

George Cooper of West Bend will also be inducted posthumously.

He died in August after a lifetime of service to agriculture at local, provincial and international levels.

Cooper was a university agriculture student during the Second World War and, as the eldest son, ended up back on the farm, said his son, Sheldon.

“His focus on the farm was always for more than the good of his own farm but the good of the community, the good of the industry, the bigger good,” he said.

He likely obtained his work ethic from his immigrant parents, who worked hard to succeed in their new home.

Cooper was a board member of the Canadian Shorthorn Association, Saskatchewan Livestock Association, Canadian Western Agribition and the Regina Bull Sale. He also spent two years teaching farming practices to farmers in Sudan.

“We exhibited for many years at Agribition,” said Sheldon. “It’s sad that he’s not here to see it himself, but there’s no question in my mind he was a worthy individual, so he would be humbled.”

Contact karen.briere@producer.com

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