LIMA — Four prominent farmers — William H. Bowersock, Robert W. Mayer, John R. Nixon and William C. Strayer — were inducted into the Allen County Agriculture Hall of Fame by the Lima/Allen County Chamber of Commerce on Thursday.
The Hall of Fame, now in its seventh year, has recognized 21 Allen County farmers for their contributions to agriculture.
“Our goal with the Hall of Fame is to annually recognize local agriculturalists that have been instrumental to the success and excellence of agriculture in Allen County, either as a farmer or in an agriculturally related field,” said Beth Seibert, who chairs the Chamber’s agribusiness committee.
William H. Bowersock
Bowersock is a retired farmer, former Spencer Township trustee of 32 years and former member of the Allen Soil and Water Conservation District for 15 years.
Bowersock was an early adopter of reduced tillage and no-till farming. In addition to growing crops and raising livestock, Bowersock sold maple syrup and timber from his woodlands. He was recognized Thursday for his accomplishments as a farmer and as a “champion” of drainage improvement projects throughout Allen County.
“I didn’t expect the honor,” Bowersock said. “It’s special.”
Robert W. Mayer
Mayer, who farmed in Shawnee Township for many years, was known for his early adoption of no-till farming and his role as an Allen County commissioner for 20 years.
Mayer ran for public office after taking a “keen interest” in the way farmers and rural communities were represented, recalled his friend Rep. Robert Cupp.
His wife, Barbara, remembers Mayer for his love of God, family and farming.
“He really did love farming,” she said. “He was up early every morning and out to work. He was a hard worker.”
John R. Nixon
Nixon won the Ohio Soybean Five-Acre Efficiency and Yield Demonstration in 1970, landing him on the cover of The Ohio Farmer magazine in March 1971. A Perry Township farmer, Nixon is described by the committee as a “well known and admired as a pioneer of innovative practices in the local farming community” and his “excellence in farming.”
His friend, Hank Elchert, described Nixon as someone who “made the right decision, no matter what.”
Nixon spent his final years in agriculture as a real estate agent and auctioneer, but he continued to share his knowledge with other farmers.
William C. Strayer
Strayer was a lifetime resident of Allen County and cattleman in Amanda Township. His farm, Strayer Angus Farms, was “long listed as one of the largest Angus herds in Ohio,” according to the agribusiness committee, which recognized Strayer’s success in breeding through “careful and continuous study.”
He was the fourth generation of his family to become a cattle farmer.
“Strayer Angus was his whole life,” his wife, Frances Strayer, said of her late husband. “I’m just sorry he’s not here to get this.”
Mayer, Nixon and Strayer were inducted into the Hall of Fame posthumously.
Reach Mackenzi Kleman at 567-242-0456.