Three inducted into Alta. ag hall of fame

Three prominent Albertans have been inducted into the provincial agriculture hall of fame.

John Kennelly was recognized for his accomplishments as a dairy researcher and 10 years as dean of the University of Alberta’s faculty of agricultural, life and environmental sciences until 2014.

He was born in Ireland and came to Canada in 1977 to pursue a doctorate in dairy research at the university.

His research into dairy nutrition and feeding systems included working with Alberta-grown crops that resulted in better milk quality, better reproduction practices and better overall animal health.

A long time professor of dairy science, he also oversaw the expansion of the university’s dairy research technology centre and was one of the founders of the western Canadian dairy seminar.

Kennelly was also president of the Global Confederation of Higher Education Associations for Agricultural and Life Sciences.

Bob Prestage of Camrose has worked with beef cattle breeding and genetic programs in Alberta for more than 50 years.

He was involved in developing progeny testing programs to improve beef cattle and is an Angus breeder.

He has selected and helped ex-port thousands of live cattle to more than 20 countries and was the first to send cattle to Russia after the discovery of BSE in a Canadian born cow caused many countries to ban Canadian beef and cattle imports .

Prestage, a former reeve of Camrose County, has contributed to youth and community organizations and has received numerous industry and community awards, including induction into the Alberta Angus Association Hall of Fame as a breed builder.

Cor Van Raay of Iron Springs helped develop the Canadian model for modern feedlot operations.

A Dutch immigrant in the 1960s, Van Raay began farming on a half-section of land with some Holstein cattle.

He expanded that into a large cattle production and feedlot enterprise, while also co-founding a grain company and becoming majority owner in a John Deere dealership.

An early adopter of technology, he implemented best management practices and developed exceptional operational efficiencies in large-scale feedlot operations, while focusing on sound environmental stewardship and improved animal-handling techniques.

His business interests expanded into Butte Grain Merchants Ltd., Western Tractor, Van Raay Land Inc., and Sungold Specialty Meats Ltd., one of Canada’s largest producers of lamb.

In 2014, he gave $5 million to launch the Cor Van Raay Southern Alberta Agribusiness Program at the University of Lethbridge and Lethbridge College. The University of Lethbridge presented him with an honourary doctor of laws degree in 2015.

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