John Davis Curtis

(1935 - 2019)

Inducted in 2020

Origin: Leeds & Grenville United Counties

Nominated by: Ken Knox, Kemptville College Alumni and Kemptville College Foundation

Specialty: Crops, Education

John Curtis made many contributions to Ontario agriculture in the areas of education, research and innovation, and marketing. His most significant legacy was his direct involvement and coordination in establishing corn as a major field crop in Eastern Ontario beginning in the late 1960s. He led the way in testing early maturing corn hybrids and early soybeans. Very quickly corn, soybeans and winter wheat became mainstay crops in the area.

As the Principal of the Kemptville College of Agricultural Technology (1974-1993), he developed the College as a major agriculture and food resource centre, educating thousands of graduates. He introduced many new programs to the College including Food Science and Technology, Equine Studies, and Ornamental Horticulture and Landscaping. He led the development of the Power and Equipment Centre, the Welding Centre, the Bull Test Station and the International Livestock Management School which enabled people from around the world to share training in advanced agricultural techniques at the college.

Through his leadership and encouragement as a director, the Canadian Seed Growers’ Association provided farmers the opportunity to grow the newest varieties with improved agronomic characteristics including higher yields and drought and pest tolerance. This was a major contribution to the growth and competitiveness of Canadian farms.

He was a Founding Director of SeCan Association (1976) which became Canada’s largest supplier of certified seed (over 480 varieties). Commercial growers were able to access superior new varieties and royalties collected were reinvested in plant breeding research and development.

Given his significant impact on the development of corn and soybeans in Eastern Ontario and his other contributions to agricultural education, research and innovation, John Curtis is an outstanding inductee into the Ontario Agricultural Hall of Fame.