Ag Hall of Fame honors farmers, agribusiness leaders: Keystone Meats founders among inductees

LIMA — The Lima/Allen County Chamber of Commerce inducted the founders of Keystone Meats, a radio broadcaster, a farm equipment salesman and a long-time farmer into its Agriculture Hall of Fame on Thursday.

The induction ceremony, now in its 11th year honoring local farmers and agribusinesses, drew dozens of farm families to the Veterans Memorial Civic Center to recognize its latest inductees: Keystone Meats founders Ray Dorley and Ray Dorley Jr., radio broadcaster Gary Jackson, farmer and realtor Ron Spencer and agriculture supply store H.G. Violet Inc.

The Dorleys founded the Pride of Lima Provision Company, now known as Keystone Meats, in 1954 when the Lima Packing Company closed, translating their experience as cattle buyers into a family business that still specializes in locally sourced meats today.

“They were instrumental in creating that market for livestock here in Lima and Allen County,” Pete Dorley, president of Keystone Meats, said of his grandfather and great grandfather in a video screened during Thursday’s ceremony.

Broadcaster Gary Jackson reported on agriculture for Lima’s WIMA-WIMT and the Ohio Ag Net, earning himself the reputation as the region’s “voice of agriculture” and a spot in Allen County’s Agriculture Hall of Fame, while long-time farmer and realtor Ron Spencer sold land to generations of farm families in Ohio, Indiana and Missouri.

“He knows the layout of every farm, who owns it and who owned it before them,” daughter Debra Parker said in Spencer’s acceptance video Thursday.

Farm machinery business H.G. Violet Inc., founded in 1945, has “bucked the trend” of corporate consolidations by remaining local, Howard Violet said in a video screened Thursday.

“We’re still independent,” Violet said. “One store, one location operation.”