PUTNAM COUNTY — On Saturday, April 14, the newly formed Putnam County Agriculture Hall of Fame inducted Richard A. Unverferth of Kalida, Lawrence A. Holl of Leipsic, and Sylvester Liebrecht, Jr. of Continental as its first members.

The recipients were honored during the Farmers Share Breakfast for their dedication and significant contributions to the field of agriculture locally, nationally and internationally. Following is a brief overview of each inductee:

Lawrence A. Holl's family

Lawrence A. Holl. Lawrence was born in Lakewood, Ohio and resided in Leipsic for 43 years. He spent 22 years conducting agricultural research with tomatoes and pumpkins with Libby, McNeil & Libby (Nestle) in Leipsic. Lawrence was instrumental in developing what is known as the “harvester tomato.” Lawrence also promoted the exchange of his knowledge and ideas across the US, and in France, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Cuba.

Lawrence served his community and industry as the director of the Ohio Food Processors as well as a support committee member for the Ohio Agriculture Research and Development Center in Wooster. Locally, he organized the Leipsic Arbor Program and was an active member of the Men’s Garden Club of America, Leipsic Village Council, Leipsic Commercial Club, Leipsic Kiwanis, Leipsic Chamber of Commerce and Leipsic Methodist Church. Lawrence passed away on April 8, 2003.

Richard A. Unverferth's family

Richard A. Unverferth. Richard was raised in Kalida, Ohio on a family farm that produced sugar beets, tomatoes, corn, soybeans and wheat. He served in the Navy during World War II and returned home to found Unverferth Manufacturing, an international manufacturer of innovative farm equipment located in Kalida, Ohio. Richard’s vision was to provide others with products to make their farms more efficient and profitable. Virtually every farm in America has at least one piece of equipment manufactured by Unverferth Manufacturing.

Richard was actively involved in the agriculture industry serving as a member and President of the Farm Equipment Manufacturers Association and as a board member for Buckeye Sugar. Locally, he was an active member of St. Michael’s Church, the Kalida Volunteer Fire Department, and a founding member of Kalida Lion’s Club. Richard was a humble man and a benefactor to numerous organizations and causes, including Putnam County YMCA, Kalida schools, Ohio State University, among others. Richard passed away on February 24, 2004.

Sylvester Liebrecht Jr. and family

Sylvester Liebrecht, Jr. Sylvester Liebrecht, Jr. resides in Continental, Ohio and has been a life-long Putnam County resident for 73 years. He designed and built new, heavy-duty and cost-efficient drainage equipment including the Tile Plow and the Waterway Ditcher, two go-to machines used in drainage projects around the world. Sylvester’s equipment can be found across the United States, and in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Lithuania, Australia, Brazil, and other locations.

Locally, Sylvester is a Defiance and Putnam County Soil and Water Conservation District Affiliate Member. In 2000, he was awarded the Farm Industry News FinOvation Award. He is also a member of St. Michael’s Catholic Church, the Kalida Knights of Columbus, and a former member of St. Isidore Catholic Church.

Congratulations to each of these deserving individuals! A permanent plaque honoring the Putnam County Agriculture Hall of Fame members will soon be on display at the Putnam County Courthouse. Biographies and additional information will be accessible on the Putnam County extension website at www.putnam.osu.edu.

For additional information, please call our office for assistance at 419-523-6294, by email at Scheckelhoff.11@osu.edu or stop in at 1206 East Second Street in Ottawa. You can also find us on Facebook by searching for OSU Extension Putnam County.