Barbara Bradshaw, daughter of Lloyd Smith, accepts her father’s Allen County Hall of Fame award from Bob McBride Thursday during induction ceremonies. (DHI Media/Nancy Spencer)
Barbara Bradshaw, daughter of Lloyd Smith, accepts her father’s Allen County Hall of Fame award from Bob McBride Thursday during induction ceremonies. (DHI Media/Nancy Spencer)
LIMA — Lloyd Smith and Sam Blythe were both honored posthumously with induction into the Allen County Agriculture Hall of Fame Thursday evening at the City Club in Lima.

Smith was a well-known and respected member of the Delphos community for most of his life. He was a Vocational Agriculture Educator at Delphos from 1950-1973 and then Vice President of Peoples National Bank in charge of ag production and agri-business loans for another decade. No less than 19 people contributed to his nomination, with most of them being former students that hold him as someone of great distinction in their lives.

Smith placed an emphasis on teaching the business end of successful farming. He is believed to have been the first in Ohio to teach Vo-Ag students business ethics. His nomination was championed by retired vocational agriculture educators Michael Miller (Delphos) and Robert Core (Spencerville), who lift him up as a dedicated professional master teacher, who set a high standard that other teachers admired, studied, and emulated.

Smith started the high school Vo-Ag and FFA program in Delphos and was a key factor in successfully uniting Delphos public and parochial schools and community farmers behind the agriculture education programming that is still going strong today.

He retired from Delphos Jefferson in 1973, where he also served as assistant principal for three years. From 1973-1983, he was vice president at The Peoples National Bank, concentrating on Agri-Business customers; was president of the Ohio Vocational Agriculture Association; alternate vice-president of Region IV of the National Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association; president of Delphos Education Association; and president of St. John’s Parish Council.

In 1973, he received the O.V.A.T.A. Outstanding Teacher Award and held an Honorary/State Farmer Degree and an Honorary FFA Degree. He was inducted into the Delphos City Schools Hall of Fame.

Smith served with the U.S. Navy in the Pacific Theater (1944-1946) and in the U.S. Naval Reserve (1950-1964). He commanded the U.S. Naval Reserve Unit in Lima for one year, retiring as a Lieutenant Commander after 16 years of service.

Smith was a member of Delphos St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, where he was a lay Communion Distributor. He was a member of the Ohio Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association, Knights of Columbus and St. Vincent de Paul Society.

Smith passed away on Feb 21, 2015.

Blythe was a full-time farmer in the Spencerville community for most of his life. His application for induction was submitted by his son, Brent, and retired Spencerville vocational agriculture educator Robert Core. Blythe’s “claim to fame,” according to his nominators, was that he was a true American farmer in every sense of the definition and the epitome of a successful farmer. He pursued a lifetime career that he loved.

His successful farm operation continues after his death with the next generation. He created an operation of such size that likely well-exceeded his own father’s imagination. Born at the end of the Great Depression, Blythe’s career in farming saw such dramatic changes within the industry of production agriculture. He was far more than just a participant in the progression, he was an all-in, hands-on, game changer. Over the seven decades of his lifetime, he adapted to some incredible advancements with machinery, hybrids, fertility, herbicides, soil conservation, technology, grain storage and other important practices. “Sam Blythe was truly a leader and an innovator who was watched and studied by others far beyond Allen County,” his nomination read.

Blythe was a respected Pioneer Seed dealer and one of the first in Ohio to produce popcorn through Weaver Popcorn, based in Indiana.

Blythe passed away on Aug. 3, 2015. At his death, his farming operation had reached around 3,000 acres.

He also helped pave the way for farmers to have a voice in Farm Bills when he and other Spencerville farmers drove their tractors to Washington, D.C., to protest below cost of production commodities prices.

Nutrien Lima added its support of the Allen County Agriculture Hall of Fame showcase this year.

“Recent events have demonstrated the importance of agriculture in all of our lives and the assurance of safe, healthy food on our tables. Nutrien is pleased to play a part in the honoring of these men and their roles in agriculture right here in Allen County,” explained Todd Sutton, general manager of Nutrien Lima.

The Allen County Agriculture Hall of Fame is in its eighth year.

According to the Chamber’s agri-business committee chair Beth Seibert, “Our goal with the Hall of Fame is to annually recognize local agriculturalists that have been instrumental to the success and excellence of agriculture in Allen County, either as a farmer or in an agriculturally related field. Both of our 2020 inductees truly reflect the award’s purpose of honoring and giving public recognition to those who have brought distinction to themselves, have made outstanding contributions to their professions, and whose community involvement has served as a stimulus to others.”

Thursday’s induction ceremony brings the total Allen County Agriculture Hall of Fame inductees to 23.