Agricultural Hall of Fame

J. Edgar Evans

2012 Inductee

J. Edgar Evans
J. Edgar Evans

Biography

J. Edgar Evans was born July 31, 1875 in Hamilton, Ontario, the son of a Free Methodist minister. At an early age his family moved to Dawn Township where he continued a successful life of farming at Lot 26, Concession 2 in Dawn Township until his death in 1972 at age 82.

Being a practical and innovative farmer Evans was receptive to new ideas. During the 1940s he recognized the need for a forage product that would do well on the land not otherwise suited to the production of alfalfa, most notably, the poorly drained, heavy clay soils of his home township.

At that time much of the land in South Lambton today was poorly drained making the production of traditional cash crops challenging.

Due to the pioneering efforts of this Dawn Township farmer a new exciting cash crop emerged in Lambton County.

Birdsfoot Trefoil

Birdsfoot Trefoil was first introduced to Canada by the late Evans who, received little encouragement from the agricultural community. Starting with his 3-acre plot, it became a major crop in the province. Eventually it was grown from Windsor to Rainy River with more than a half-million acres in production.

From 1950-1980, a time when nearly every farm in the province produced livestock, Birdsfoot Trefoil became known as the “Cinderella Crop” of South Lambton. Evans loved to share his knowledge of farming with others and helped many of his neighbours get started in trefoil production.

Birdsfoot Trefoil
Birdsfoot Trefoil

Birdsfoot Trefoil is a type of clover, that was found to flourish in soils and growing conditions that were largely unsuitable for the production of alfalfa or traditional cash crops such as corn and soybeans. It is used as a high quality, non- bloating legume for pastures, hay and stock-piling.

Many farmers cashed in on the high prices its seed demanded and production spread across Ontario. Seed production during that era was highly lucrative and proved to be a financial boon to many rural families in Lambton County, many with annual receipts over $400,000, an astounding figure for the time.

Cow Eating Birdsfoot Trefoil
Cow Eating Birdsfoot Trefoil

Community Contributions

  • Devoted member of the Zion Free Methodist Church
  • Long–time Sunday School teacher
  • School Trustee for Beaver Meadow School