Wagner family recognized for farming contribution

One constant has remained among the generations of Wagners farming the fertile hills between Clive and Lacombe.

One constant has remained among the generations of Wagners farming the fertile hills between Clive and Lacombe.

Farming methods, technology and the types of crops grown and animals raised may be far removed from what Eb and Kathleen Wagner brought with them from Denmark when they started the family farm in 1913.

But the family bonds remain tight among the generations of farmers now walking in their footsteps, said their grandson, Terry Wagner.

He, his brother Keith, and their cousin Murray are more than family — they’re best friends and they help each other in every way possible, Terry said from the office of his seed farm on Friday afternoon.

That tradition has been brought forward from his father Albert and uncle Lawrence, who farmed side by side after Albert bought his own farm and Lawrence took over the operation their father had started.

On Saturday morning, Sunnybrook Farm Museum was scheduled to present Terry’s parents, Albert and Dorothy, with the 2011 Golden Furrow award, recognizing them and their family’s contributions to the local farming community.

Albert had started his own farm in 1948, two years after graduating from what was then called the Olds School of Agriculture.

He developed a mixed operation — including hogs, beef cattle and grain — along Hwy 12, a little bit west of his dad’s farm.

Terry remembers coming home to shovel out the hog barns and calving sheds. Nobody could call it a treat, but it wasn’t that bad, he said.

As his farm matured and developed, Albert became active in community work, organizing the first Boy Scouts troop in Clive and then volunteering his time as leader for the next six years.

He was a member of the municipal planning commission when the County of Lacombe was negotiating with developers to build a petrochemical plant at Joffre, and was named Clive Citizen of the Year in 1976.

He lent his talents to the Lacombe Rural Electrification Association, the Blindman Valley Livestock Co-operative, Unifarm and the advisory committee for the Alberta Hail Project throughout its six years in existence.

Albert became a director of the Alberta Wheat Pool in 1972 and served as second vice-president from 1985 through 1991.

Additionally, he served with the producers advisory committee for the Western Grain Stabilization Administration, the Clive Community Hall Board, the Clive curling rink construction committee and the Lacombe Rotary Club, which awarded him a Paul Harris Fellowship.

His wife Dorothy has volunteered with the United Church Women and kept the farm running at full speed while her husband was fulfilling his duties in the community.

Both their sons have continued in the farming tradition, alongside their cousin and uncle.

Along with their two sons, Albert and Dorothy have 12 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren.