Columbiana County Agriculture Hall of Fame: Allan Chamberlin, Charles Harper to be enshrined

Columbiana County Agriculture Hall of Fame enshrinees for 2015: Allan Chamberlin and Charlie Harper
Columbiana County Agriculture Hall of Fame enshrinees for 2015: Allan Chamberlin and Charlie Harper

LISBON, Ohio — The Columbiana County Agriculture Hall of Fame selection committee selected two individuals to be enshrined posthumously during the 2015 Columbiana County Fair Aug. 4: Allan G. Chamberlin and Charles L. Harper, both of Fairfield Township.

The two bring the total number of members in the Hall of Fame to 63. They will be inducted during enshrinement ceremonies Aug. 4, at 10:30 a.m. in the Arts & Crafts Building.

Honorees’ families will also be recognized, and framed portraits and biographical sketches of each individual will be unveiled. The portraits of the previous inductees are permanently displayed in the Arts & Crafts Building.

Allan G. Chamberlin

Fairfield Township farmer Allan Chamberlin focused on building a progressive and profitable farm, but spent countless hours building the communities throughout Columbiana County as well.

Raised on a farm, by age 14, he was picking up cream from local dairy farmers and delivering it to the Petersburg Creamery. He also delivered apples from his father’s orchard to stores in Youngstown and Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania. When he started his egg farm in the mid-1950s, he built delivery routes in East Liverpool and Midland, Pa. He also sold eggs through the Northeastern Ohio Poultry Association, where he served on the board.

Allan Chamberlin, Columbiana County Agriculture Hall of Fame inductee
Allan Chamberlin, Columbiana County Agriculture Hall of Fame inductee

Allan graduated from New Waterford High School in 1937 and eventually bought two farms, raising truck crops, laying hens then broiler chickens, swine and cattle. An innovator, he built one of the first grain bin dryers in the area, and installed a mix mill system to make his own feed for his laying chickens and swine. He started a registered Polled Hereford herd and sold purebred bulls in the region. In the 1960s, he transitioned from laying chickens to broiler chickens, and also sold Big Dutchman poultry equipment as a sideline. He also strengthened the region’s agricultural community through his work as organization director with the Mahoning County Farm Bureau.

Chamberlin is known for his visionary leadership beyond agriculture, first as a Fairfield Township trustee for 11 years, and then as a two-term Columbiana County commissioner. As commissioner, he was instrumental in the development and construction of the Louis Tobin Attention Center, the Guilford Lake sewer system, and the sewer system on the north side of Lisbon to the Industrial Park. He also served eight years on the Columbiana County School Board. Between his terms as commissioner, he managed the Landmark Feed Mill, now part of the Agland Co–op, in Lisbon.

He served as president of the Columbiana County Farm Bureau, Columbiana County Historical Society, Fairfield Ruritan Club and numerous other community organizations. He was an active leader of the East Fairfield United Methodist Church, and was known for barbershop singing and musical talents.

Charles L. Harper

Charles Harper, Columbiana County Agriculture Hall of Fame inductee
Charles Harper, Columbiana County Agriculture Hall of Fame inductee

He might have born and raised in Akron, but Charlie Harper had the heart and passion of a farmer, and spent most of his career promoting agriculture and natural resources conservation.

Harper served in the Air Force during WWII, and returned to Ohio State University to finish a degree in agriculture. A year after graduation, he joined Firestone Farms in Columbiana as assistant manager and moved to Fairfield Township. He was subsequently named farm manager and for the next 30 years, he developed the working farm at Firestone Farms, also home of the company’s tractor tire proving center.

The farm raised truck crops, field corn, hay, small grain, and purebred Hereford cattle. Collaborating with county Extension agents, Harper built extensive, replicated potato, strawberry and vegetable test plots, and Firestone Farm hosted numerous state and local field days to demonstrate the plots’ results, as well as tillage, harvesting and handling equipment. In fact, he staged the state’s largest corn hybrid yield trial, consisting of nearly 100 corn hybrids. In the 1960s and ’70s, Harper focused on the feeder cattle program and included progressive management ideas, including feeder barns, bunkers and breeding, including the introduction of some of the region’s first Murray Grey cattle. He was recognized in 1970 by the Cleveland Farmers’ Club and the Greater Cleveland Growth Association as a top farmer.

Following his retirement from Firestone Farms, he taught Farm Business Planning and Analysis to the county’s farmers through the Columbiana County Career and Technical Center.

Harper also served 16 years with the Columbiana County Park District Board, During his tenure, he was instrumental in the establishment of the Little Beaver Creek Greenway Trail, as well as the development of Scenic Vista Park in Center Township.

Harper was leader of many community events and organizations, including the Columbiana County Fair board; the Columbiana County Farm Bureau, which presented Harper with its Distinguished Service Award; the Columbiana United Methodist Church; OSU Extension advisory committee; Columbiana city planning commission; and the Columbiana-Mahoning Ag Club. He served 27 years on the county mental health center board, was a charter member of the Fairfield Ruritan Club, 40-year member of the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers, and was a Paul Harris Fellow with Rotary Club International. He and his wife, Merilynn, raised two children.


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