Seath inducted into Livestock Hall of Fame

Published 10:14 am Thursday, August 7, 2008

Ron Seath was a reluctant inductee into the Mower County Livestock Hall of Fame.

Larry Rasch, fair board president, told Wednesday afternoon’s Hall of Fame reception audience, “Ron didn’t think he had anything to do with livestock and, therefore, he shouldn’t be considered.”

But Seath was the choice of the selection committee, who wanted him to join the other livestock production elite honored by the Hall of Fame recognition.

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“So, Ella Marie Lausen and I went to Ron and convinced him otherwise,” Rasch said.

Seath’s version confirms that’s what happened.

“Larry and Ella Marie took me out to eat at Perkins one day,’ he said. “They wanted to have a talk and, Boy, were they convincing.”

So Seath takes his place in the Livestock Hall of Fame along side such luminaries as Carrol Plager and his old “boss” F. L. Leibenestein, who coined the nickname almost three decades ago “the 4-H guy.”

If Seath was, indeed, the 4-H guy, then his wife, Peg, was the 4-H lady.

Seath worked 29 years as the Mower County Extension Service agent for 4-H programming.

He grew up on a livestock farm in Freeborn County north of Albert Lea and graduated the University of Minnesota School of Agriculture in St. Paul.

He worked as 4-H summer assistant in Rock and Faribault counties, served in the U.S. Armed Forces, during the Korean War and accepted Leibenestein offer to be the “4-H guy” in 1953.

“As we meet here today in historic Crane Pavilion, a lot of memories come back to me,” Seath told the Wednesday afternoon crowd.

Decades ago, the giant Crane Pavilion was filled with livestock projects of 4-Hers.

Seath spent hours, days, weeks helping the 4-Hers prepare for the Mower County Fair and the Minnesota State Fair with his wife, Peg, at his side.

“I’ve seen many changes through the years,” he said.

Among them, the size of hogs: then 200 pounds at the most, now 270 to 200 pounds.

A “butterball” sheep then is now a “thin and trim” sheep today.

Herefords and Angus were the most popular breeds three decades ago. Today, there are crossbred exotics.

“The changes are too many to mention,” he admitted.

Seath introduced his wife, Peg, to the audience, and their daughter, Lori, and her husband, Craig, plus their twin sons.

If Seath was reluctant to allow himself to be a shoo-in for the Livestock Hall of Fame, he was fastidious about the details of his public life.

For instance, the same year he was named the state’s top dairy showman, he didn’t fare as well in the state sheep show. “I showed a lamb that got away not once but twice,” Seath said.

Dr. Milt Stensland, Ron Hays, David and Jan Andree and other Hall of Fame inductees greeted Seath after the ceremony and lunch was served by the selection committee.