Two Local Families to be Inducted into the Peterborough County Agricultural Wall of Fame

After a two-year hiatus, the Peterborough County Agricultural Wall of Fame will celebrate the 2022 additions to their Wall of Fame in person this month. Two couples are among residents being honoured for their contribution to the local agriculture/agri-food industry:  Dr. Bill and Mary Belch of North Monaghan, and Roy and Christina Sanderson of Bailieboro.

The late Dr. Bill Belch and his wife Mary founded the Peterborough Buffalo Farm located on Sherbrooke Street on the western edge of town.  At its peak, the couple managed 350 head on 1000 acres in the area.   Their farm played an important role in protecting a part of Canadian history and were known internationally for their bison breeding stock.  The Belch’s purchased their first 44 Prairie Buffalo in February 1969 from Elk Island National Park, Alberta. They developed a market for federally- inspected bison meat, selling directly to consumers and local restaurants.  Mary sold bison meat at the Peterborough Farmers’ Market for over 20 years.  The passion for bison farming was a family affair.

Dr. Belch was a founder of the Canadian Bison Association and became national president in 1991.  He was named the Grand Bisoneer of America and they received international recognition for their lifetime dedication and service to the bison industry.

The second couple, Roy and Christina (Bulmer) Sanderson, were raised on farms in Smith Township and married in 1924.  They joined the Sanderson family dairy farm on Chemong Road where Portage Place Mall is now located.  Roy delivered milk and eggs by horse and buggy or cutter to customers around Peterborough. When the farm was expropriated in 1951, they purchased a farm on the south edge of Bailieboro.  At that time, the farm was unproductive, due to soil erosion, and outbuildings on the farm required extensive repairs.  Roy had a vision for the property, which took into consideration the contours on the slopes.  Strip farming techniques helped the Sandersons transform their farm of “bog and bulrushes” into a beautiful and productive farm property.  They hosted many tours showcasing new practices.  Their contour farming practices with crop rotation were featured in several agriculture publications and textbooks.  They also installed the first DeLaval pipeline in Peterborough County.

These industrious and creative agricultural pioneers in our area will be recognized on Sunday, August 28th at the Agricultural Heritage Building and Lang Pioneer Village and Museum in Keene. KG

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