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Tommy Cooper Award

The 2013 Tommy Cooper Award was awarded April 25th at the Elmwood Community Centre

Brian Gilroy of Meaford, winner of the 2013 Tommy Cooper Award

Brian Gilroy

The winner of the 2013 Tommy Cooper Award is an apple farmer from the Meaford area. Brian Gilroy has won the prestigious honour after being nominated by the Georgian Bay Fruit Growers Association.

Gilroy has been a director with the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association since 2008. He is also a Past Chair of the Ontario Apple Growers steering committee that advocates and supports apple farmers in the province.

The Bruce County Federation of Agriculture Award of Merit was also handed out during a celebration dinner on Friday April 25th at the Elmwood Community Centre.

Don and Cathy Farrell of Ripley were honoured for their environmental work with the Pine River Watershed Initiative.

- Bayshore Broadcasting News


Looking back... a recent history of Tommy Cooper Award winners

Barb Klages of Elmwood, winner of the 2011 Tommy Cooper Award

Barb Klages, winner of the 2011 Tommy Cooper award

A woman who is advocating for the rights of small abattoirs in Grey Bruce has won the Tommy Cooper award. Barb Klages of Elmwood was shocked to receive the annual award that honours the person who has made the greatest contribution to local agriculture and rural living. Klages admits she was just honoured to be nominated.

Klages believes her work to save small abattoirs is important -- and it has showed her that people are paying more attention to what they put in their mouths. She also believes more and more people are aware of where their food comes from in a bid to lead a healthier lifestyle.

Klages has also volunteered with numerous groups in our region -- including the Malcolm Women's Institute. She urges other people to get involved with local groups and to talk to people to learn how to play an important role in our community. Klages is worried too many people are focused on themselves and not others around them.

Klages was one of three nominees for this year's award -- getting more votes than Paul Wettlaufer and Warren Weppler. Klages -- who was nominated by the Bruce County Federation of Agriculture -- is a co-founder of the Bruce County 4-H Leaders Council. Jenny Amy was also honoured Friday night with the Award of Merit for her work as Chair of the Grey Bruce Agriculture and Culinary Association.

- Bayshore Broadcasting News 


Jack Riley of Paisley, winner of the 2009 Tommy Cooper Award

This years' winner played a pivotal role in organizing the 2008 International Plowing Match in Bruce county.  Jack Riley of Paisley is the winner of the Tommy Cooper award.  He was nominated by the Bruce county Federation of Agriculture.

Riley has been a member of the Federation for 35 years, he is a past chair of the Bruce county plowmen's association. Riley is also director on the Saugeen Conservation authority. He was the first farmer east of Manitoba to devote land to the Food Grains Bank, in 1991. The grain grown that year was donated to Ethiopia. Jack Riley was Chair of the 2008 International Plowing Match in Bruce County.

In total, Seven people were nominated for this year's Tommy Cooper award.  The Tommy Cooper award goes to the person who has made the greatest contribution to agriculture and rural living.  It commemorates the late Tommy Cooper, a well known provincial government agricultural representative in the area who was instrumental in founding the Grey Bruce Livestock co-operative.

- Bayshore Broadcasting News

Robert Emerson,  winner of the 2008 Tommy Cooper Award

Tommy Cooper award winner Robert Emerson with Bayshore Broadcasting News Director Manny Paiva

Ripley area beef producer Robert Emerson is the most recent winner of the annual Tommy Cooper award for outstanding contribution to agriculture in Bruce Grey.

Emerson says it's a tremendous honour to be recognized by his peers in farming and he is glad to share it with previous winners that date back to 1959.

Emerson was nominated by the Bruce County Federation of Agriculture -- in part for his work as Past President of the group.

Emerson feels most proud of his work lobbying federal and provincial politicians and creating a good relationship to improve agriculture, but he says more work needs to be done to improve agriculture locally and across the province.

Emerson notes that agriculture will soon pass auto manufacturing as the number one industry in Canada and he wants governments to do more to help farmers. He says they need to focus on the cost of production to increase the profit margin -- and that will attract more young farmers.

Emerson also feels food security and food safety will continue to be big issues for Canadians.

- Bayshore Broadcasting News

For more information about the Tommy Cooper Award, check out our Award Partners page.


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