Griffith, Parker, Krokosz join Hall of Fame

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Three Lambton County residents have joined the Lambton Agriculture Hall of Fame.

Carolynne Griffith of Brooke-Alvinston, Mac Parker of Warwick and the late Charlie Srokosz of Thedford joined the ranks of those who shaped the county’s agriculture community Friday.

Griffith has lived on a Lambton County farm her entire life and served as the Egg Farmers of Ontario Chair for years.

In 1961, she became a teacher but went into farming full time after marrying Art Griffith in 1963.

Together the pair grew their farm from 50 to 1,500 acres, building an innovating egg laying barn for 5,000 bird and then doubled its size in 1970. By the time she retired from farming, there were 27,000 hens in the facility. Her son runs the operation now.

Griffith joined the Egg Farmers of Ontario in 1975 and served until 2017, including 15 years as chair – the first woman to hold the position. It wasn’t an easy time, as Griffith and the board negotiated the first outbreaks of Avian Flu.
She also represented farmers at the World Trade Organization trade talks in Geneva, Hong Kong and Brussels.

And she also enjoyed a life in politics. From 1988 to 1991, she was a municipal councillor. She’s also been the president of the Lambton-Kent-Middlesex Federal Liberal Riding Association. She also served on the Lambton College Board of Governors.

“For sixty years, Griffith has made significant contributions as a leader, role model, and ambassador in the Lambton agricultural community and beyond,” said Brooke-Alvinston Mayor Dave Ferguson at the virtual induction ceremony Friday night.

Brian Boyle says Mac Parker started farming early and is a leader in the beef industry and his community.

Parker bought his first farm at 16. It was across the road from where he grew up. He joined the 4-H Beef Club in Watford and eventually became its leader.
He went to Ridgetown College and began farming with his dad, eventually building a 450 acre business.

Boyle says Parker “recognized shifting realities in the beef production system and progressed into a cross breeding system to capture the hybrid vigour that it allowed.” He created “new beef products on his farm including breeding bulls, 4-H Club steers, and replacement heifers for other producers as well as freezer beef for consumers.” His high-quality herd was in always in strong demand.
Parker was the present of the Lambton Federation of Agriculture and worked to get governments to recognize the need for stable farm funding. He was the first president of Lambton Rural Childcare which provides reliable childcare to farm families.

“A respected conservationist, Parker was one of three people recruited by the Environmental Stewardship Program to promote, administer, and peer-review potential conservation projects in Lambton.

His concern for drainage in farm fields led him to serve on his municipal council for two terms. He returned to politics in 1991, to help deal with the pending expansion of the Watford landfill. He was the mayor of Warwick for three terms.

The late Charlie Srokosz bought 120 acres on Walker Road in what is now Lambton Shores and became one of the first to farm the area known as the Thedford Bog.

Formerly a large wetland of over 17,000 acres including a series of inland lakes, the area was drained by the 1950s. When Srokosz bought the land, only 20 acres of the rich, black soil had been cleared for cultivation. Within a few years, he cleared 90 more acres of dead wood, stumps, and vegetation.By the 1960s-70s, Srokosz was one of Canada’s premier onion growers.

He served on the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association for years, including as its president.

Srokosz was also active in municipal politics as a councillor and then reeve of Bosanquet Township. Srokosz was instrumental in the founding of the Lambton Heritage Museum in his municipality.

He was also a Catholic school board trustee and on the Lambton District Health Council.

The new members of the Hall of Fame join 19 others who have been inducted since 2010.