Jim Hill headed to Exhibition Hall of Fame


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August 18, 2015 8:15 AM

The Lloydminster Exhibition will tour Lower Shannon Farms, The Cheesiry, Hi-Gain Ranching and Harvard Farms on Friday, Aug. 22 for Alberta's Open Farm Days. - File Photo.

Jim Hill got the call in the fall of 2014.

The Lloydminster Exhibition Association wanted to induct the longtime Lloydminster farmer into the Agricultural Hall of Fame, but there was just one problem.

“I said to him, ‘No, George. I’m not really interested in that. I’m not that kind of person that likes all those accolades.’”

George, refers to George Mann, one of the board of directors with the exhibition. After Hill declined the honour, Mann suggested that he give it a second thought.

“I said, ‘Well, I go down south all winter,’” Hill recalled. “He said, ‘That’s a good time to think it over.’”

So he did.

Hill, who is 88 years old and retired from running his own farm several years ago, headed down to Mesa, Ariz. with his wife where they spend the winters and thought long and hard.

“I talked it over with my wife a couple of times last winter and then I got home on March 28 and we talked it over again,” said Hill.

In May 2015, the phone rang again. A month later, Hill gave the hall of fame his blessing.

“I said, ‘Maybe I should, because my dad’s on the wall there, too.’”

On Saturday, Aug. 23, Jim Hill will take his spot in the Exhibition’s Agricultural Hall of Fame with family coming in from Edmonton, Calgary and Arizona to celebrate.

“It’s one of the highlights of my life,” said Hill.

The Hall of Fame induction purposely coincides with Alberta Open Farm Days, an event held throughout the province on Aug. 22 and 23, although, the exhibition is running Open Farm Days on the 22nd only.

Open Farm Days provides tours to various local farms, at which ranchers will share stories with visitors and provide demonstrations on how they produce food.

The tours are free and the exhibition provides transportation, with busses leaving the grounds at 10 a.m. and returning around 3:30 p.m.

“The only thing we ask is that people bring a bagged lunch because we’re going to have a picnic stop throughout the tour,” said Tess Sidoryk, marketing specialist for the exhibition.

The exhibition’s tour includes stops at a variety of farms, including the greenhouse at Lower Shannon Farms, The Cheesiry, Hi-Gain Ranching and Harvard Farms’ buffalo ranch.

“There’s going to be quite a variety for everybody to come and see,” said Sidoryk. “The producers will show and talk about their process and how they grow, produce, everything like that.”

The Lloydminster Exhibition Association is also hosting a gourmet meal following the tours, arguably the highlight of Open Farm Days.

“It’s probably my favourite part, I love the tours but this is fun. It’s a secret location, so anybody who has tickets does not know where we’re going,” Sidoryk said. “We transport everybody out by bus and we go out and have this gourmet meal prepared by our Red Seal chef. He’s using local ingredients and focusing on ones from the farms we visited.”

Only 50 tickets for the dinner, which each cost $100, are being sold. The tickets are available at the exhibition office or online at www.lloydexh.com/tickets.

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