J. Eric Hammill

Prince Edward Island

J. Eric Hammill was born in 1932 and raised in the Lower Freetown/Newton community in Prince Edward Island. In 1954, he purchased the 100-acre family farm from his parents. The following year Eric married Helen McIsaac and together began a lifelong dedication to the agricultural industry.

Eric Hammill's contribution to the agriculture industry has always been focussed on fair and equitable treatment and consideration for farmers and their families. Eric has always tried to ensure that agriculture is accorded the profile it deserves in both provincial and national forums. His commitment to the development and maintenance of the industry as a whole is his hallmark. His passion for providing agriculture with a strong voice is evident in everything he does.

As Secretary-Manager of the Prince Edward Island Federation of Agriculture, Eric was active in ensuring farmers were able to maximize development plan programs during the 1970's. He helped introduce agriculture courses at some Island high schools in the late 1970's and he worked very closely with commodity marketing boards during their early days. Eric promoted the creation of the School Milk Program and coordinated the movement towards reestablishing Farmers' Markets throughout the province and establishment of the Farm Health and Safety Program.

Eric was elected MLA for District 19, Borden-Kinkora, in the 1996 general election. On November 27, 1996, he was appointed Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, and Minister responsible for the PEI Grain Elevators Corporation. He was also Minister responsible for the Maritime Harness Racing Commission. Eric was recognized by Atlantic Post Calls as 1999 Man of the Year.

Serving as the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry on Prince Edward Island, Mr. Hammill's focus was on the well-being of the farmer and the development of the farming community as a whole. His policy decisions were reflective of his desire to maintain a healthy industry and provide agriculture with a positive public profile. Eric was and is a strong supporter of youth development through the 4-H program.

During Eric Hammill's ministry, he was instrumental in establishing the following programs: Cranberry Development Program; Broccoli and Cauliflower Program; Beef Development Marketing Program; Matinee Race Track Program; and PEI Food Strategy. Eric continues to serve as MLA for Borden-Kinkora, providing a voice for agriculture in the provincial legislature.

Eric and Helen Hammill have two sons, Robert and Preston. As a family, they developed a farming operation that produces 60 acres of processing potatoes and boasts 90 head of cattle in a cow/calf operation. Their high level of management has allowed them to survive and prosper in spite of the fluctuations in commodity prices and the challenges of controlling disease in the potato crop.

Having grown up in Lower Freetown, Eric has close connections with his neighbours and a strong commitment to his community of Newton. He and his wife Helen have lived in Newton for 45 years. Eric has always been actively involved in community events and has served on several local committees. Eric and Helen are both active members of Saint Malachy's Roman Catholic Church in Kinkora.

J. Eric Hammill was nominated by the Prince Edward Island Federation of Agriculture, and it is with honour and respect to his contributions to the agricultural industry that Eric Hammill is inducted into the Atlantic Agricultural Hall of Fame.

  Induction Date: 2000