LIMA — Sam B. Blythe and Lloyd B. Smith were posthumously inducted into the Allen County Agriculture Hall of Fame on Thursday evening.
The hall of fame, now in its eighth year, recognizes Allen County’s most influential farmers, educators and agribusiness leaders who helped advance farming throughout the county. Blythe and Smith join 21 past hall of fame inductees.
Sam Blythe was, according to his nominators, the definition of a successful farmer.
A second-generation farmer and lifelong Allen County resident, Blythe bought his first farm with his father in 1961. He rented another 1,100 acres near Lakeview with his father for several years and later purchased the 204-acre Luma farm on the county’s east side. People often said Blythe would never pay off his land, but Blythe still owned the property when he died 50 years later, according to the nomination form submitted by his son, Brent, and vocational agriculture educator Robert Core.
Blythe, who was born towards the end of the Great Depression, continued buying and renting land for most of his life. By the time of his death in 2015, he and Brent farmed nearly 3,000 acres together.
The work of farming changed dramatically over the course of Blythe’s career. He not only adapted to advancements in technology, machinery, grain storage and soil conservation practices, according to the hall of fame, but he was an innovator whose farming methods were studied by people beyond Allen County.
Lloyd Smith, a vocational agriculture educator who resided in Delphos for most of his life, was one of the first educators in Ohio to teach business ethics to vocational agriculture students. He taught at Spencerville High School and Delphos schools before joining the Peoples National Bank in Delphos as vice president of agriculture production and agribusiness loans.
Smith was nominated by 19 former students and others, who praised his honesty, positive attitude and leadership skills in addition to his vast knowledge of agriculture.
Smith is credited for starting Delphos schools’ vocational agriculture and Future Farmers of America programs. He was instrumental in uniting Delphos public and parochial schools, along with community farmers, behind the agricultural education programs still underway today.