As it does every year, the Wetaskiwin Agricultural Society is inducting another influential agriculturalist into its Hall of Fame with an awards banquet and program.
This year’s honoured inductee is Brian Carlson, and office manager Arlene Grapentine says there are multiple deciding factors that go into choosing the inductee.
First is their agricultural accomplishments and advancements, second is volunteering in the community and how the inductee has impacted the lives of others.
“He has extensive farming background,” said Grapentine. “That’s mainly why we chose him.”
“The other thing is his volunteerism,” she added.
Grapentine feels volunteers are becoming obsolete in many communities and says that is why it is important to celebrate those who continue to give their time.
Carlson knew the ag society made inductions into the Hall of Fame but never thought he himself would end up in that position. “I figure it’s a privilege. But I never dreamed of even thinking (about it). I’m not looking out for gifts or awards.”
Carlson graduated from Wetaskiwin Composite High School in 1960 and graduated with a S.A.I.T. Engineering technology diploma in 1963. He then worked for the city of Edmonton until 1966 before rejoining his father and brother on the family farm.
Over the summer of 1966 Carlson applied for a teaching position at S.A.I.T. but because his parents wanted to make a trip to Sweden and were not sure if there was enough help on the farm he had a choice to make. “I could stay where I was, go to Calgary or go to the farm.”
After he went back to farming he never again left the industry but continued to do small amounts of work in the engineering field.
“We had a mixed farm … there was a lot to do,” said Carlson.
“Being raised on the farm I love working outdoors,” he added. Carlson also says his upbringing gave him a passion for the industry and caring for animals.
From 1966 to 1996 Carlson’s family farm — which it still remains today — operated as a mixed beef, pork, hay and grains farm. In 1997 it became a mixed grain and pork farm. “We felt there was still some money to be made in the hog industry.”
Carlson explains it was around that time when canola became quite financially prominent in the agriculture world.
Carlson also spent much of his life volunteering, starting at eight years old. “We had a grain plots club. That triggered my interest in agriculture.”
As Carlson grew so did his involvement in different volunteering positions; including time spent with the Gwynne 4-H Club, Gwynne Farmers Union of Alberta, Alberta Pork Producers Marketing Board, Alberta Pork Congress, UFA Wetaskiwin Co-op Refineries, Crooked Lake Community Cemetery and Baptiste General Conference in Alberta.
“The opportunity was there to serve,” said Carlson.
The Wetaskiwin Agricultural Society has been inducting individuals into its Hall of Fame since 1980 and this year’s ceremony is held Nov. 21 at the Moose Hall in Wetaskiwin; this program starts at 8 p.m. with dinner held beforehand.