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Former N.S. ag minister Ed Lorraine, 80

Ed Lorraine, a Colchester County cattle producer who was Nova Scotia’s agriculture minister from 1997 to 1999, died early Wednesday morning at age 80, the provincial government reported.

“Mr. Lorraine was not only a tremendous representative for his constituency but was an invaluable advocate for the agricultural community during his time in government and throughout his private life,” said Premier Rodney MacDonald in a press release Wednesday afternoon.

According to the Atlantic Agricultural Hall of Fame, which inducted him in 2004, Lorraine started farming in Colchester County in 1956, running a dairy and cattle operation. He was considered a pioneer in the development of the Murray Grey breed in Canada, importing some of its first breeding stock into Canada.

“As a farmer, Mr. Lorraine had long been involved in issues concerning the well-being and survival of the family farm,” the province said Wednesday. “He was a strong voice serving in various positions in the Eastern Livestock Sale Society, the Nova Scotia Beef Producers Association, the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association and the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture.”

“Ed was instrumental in the establishment of the ‘feeder sale’ that provides cattlemen with a place to market their calves,” the ag hall of fame wrote. “His commitment to developing this market for Nova Scotia cattle extended to signing a personal note to raise the capital needed to get the sale going.”

Lorraine entered politics at the municipal level in 1973 as warden of Colchester County, holding that post until 1981, when he was elected as the Liberal MLA for Colchester North. He was re-elected in 1988 and 1993 and was named minister of agriculture and marketing in 1997.

Lorraine also served as minister responsible for administration of the provincial Gaming Control Act and Liquor Control Act from 1997 to 1999.

“By the time Ed retired he was regarded by many as one of the most popular and effective ministers of agriculture in the province’s history,” the ag hall of fame wrote.

“He never let economic realism interfere with his concern for farmers and their industry. No problem was too small to get his attention and when farmers were in difficulty, whether it was in Yarmouth or Cape Breton, he was there to work through the issues with them.”

The Canadian Press news agency reported Wednesday that a memorial service for Lorraine will be held Friday in Truro.

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