News

Recognizing hard work, pioneering efforts

By Monte Sonnenberg, Simcoe Reformer

Bauke Vogelzang, right, of Waterford, helped establish the annual Battery Blitz in the local area as a fundraiser for the Norfolk Federation of Agriculture. Norfolk County’s heritage and culture division has named Vogelzang, 85, as one of this year’s inductees to the Norfolk County Agricultural Hall of Fame. At left is the late Richard Walker of Simcoe, who was inducted into the Ag Hall in 2015. Reformer file photo

Bauke Vogelzang, right, of Waterford, helped establish the annual Battery Blitz in the local area as a fundraiser for the Norfolk Federation of Agriculture. Norfolk County’s heritage and culture division has named Vogelzang, 85, as one of this year’s inductees to the Norfolk County Agricultural Hall of Fame. At left is the late Richard Walker of Simcoe, who was inducted into the Ag Hall in 2015. Reformer file photo

SIMCOE  - 

A Waterford-area farmer has been recognized for decades of service to agriculture with a place in the Norfolk County Agricultural Hall of Fame.

Bauke Vogelzang, 85, was a busy farmer who somehow found time to make things happen behind the scenes for his rural neighbours.

Vogelzang, Hellyer Ginseng and the St. Williams Forestry Station are this year’s inductees to the hall of fame. They will be formally recognized at a ceremony at the Waterford Heritage and Agricultural Museum April 29.

Museum curator James Christison is a member of the selection committee. This week, Christison said Vogelzang’s long list of associations and accomplishments makes him an obvious choice.

“It was across the board with the selection committee,” Christison said. “Bauke has always been there and been involved with key committees in the local area related to agriculture. He was a real power house.

“He didn’t do it for the fame. It was because it needed to be done and he could be counted on to do it.”

Vogelzang is a past president of the Norfolk Federation of Agriculture, the Norfolk Wheat Producers and the Norfolk Pork Producers. Vogelzang was also a founding member of the Norfolk Woodlot Owners Association. He served as NWOA’s inaugural chairperson. Vogelzang has also served as co-chair of the Norfolk chapter of Alternative Land Use Services (ALUS).

Norfolk County piloted ALUS nearly 10 years ago. The program has since spread across Canada. ALUS is based on the principle that owners of marginal farmland who return it to nature should be compensated for providing environmental benefits such as wildlife habitat and clean water.

Vogelzang was born in 1933 in Schargouton, Holland. He and his late wife Nelly immigrated to Canada in 1960. Vogelzang worked on local dairy farms before buying his own farm near Waterford in 1964.

The induction of Hellyer Ginseng recognizes the pioneering work of Clarence and Albert Hellyer. In the 1890s, the brothers in Townsend Centre cultivated seed from wild ginseng into a successful farming enterprise. Members of the Hellyer family remain active in ginseng to this day.

“Their hard work and ingenuity laid the groundwork for the thriving Ontario ginseng industry we know today,” Norfolk’s culture and heritage division says in a news release.

The induction of the St. Williams Forestry Station also recognizes the pioneers behind a critical facility that was key to restoring Norfolk to good health following decades of short-sighted land practices.

When the forestry farm was established north of St. Williams in 1908, clear-cut logging had denuded much of the Norfolk sand plain. Wind erosion destroyed much of the area’s agricultural potential and rendered it useless as wildlife habitat.

Next month’s induction will recognize the efforts of Lieut.-Col. Arthur Pratt, Walter F. McCall and Dr. Edmund Zavitz and the success they had establishing sprawling pine plantations near the Lake Erie shoreline. In doing so, they rejuvenated large tracts of Norfolk County that had deteriorated into wasteland.

The forestry station went on to produce billions of seedlings that have been transplanted across Ontario and beyond. The facility Pratt, McCall and Zavitz established remains a going concern in the production of seedlings.

Along with Christison, other members of the selection committee include Rob Adlam, Sharon Petheram, Norfolk heritage and culture manager Melissa Collver, and Catherine Caughell.

MSonnenberg@postmedia.com