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Farming Organizations & Agricultural Education

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Farm Meetings and Organizations The first farm meetings I went to were for the Farmers Institute. These were held one day each year at Kintail. They brought in speakers about various farm topics of interest. I remember Bill Bailey and Joe Mallough from over near Dungannon were two of the leaders in this organization. Later, the United Farmers of Ontario was organized around Curries Corners and the club hall was built on the corner of our farm (now falling down in 1970).

In summers each year, train excursions went from all over Ontario to the Ontario Agricultural College (O.A.C.) at Guelph. These were for one day’s duration. We left early morning and came back in the evening. We were given lunch at the College. This was in June and terrific crowds attended to see the experimental plots and livestock and buildings and grounds as well as having a day’s holiday and train ride at a reduced rate.

In January 1917, I went to O.A.C. to take a short course in poultry. It lasted one month. I roomed with Percy Switzer, Arthur Wilson and Norman McCully of St. Mary’s who was a life long companion. We were given an incubator and hatched chicks and took lectures. This gave me the groundwork for my later lifetime work in poultry.

Ontario Agricultural College 1919-22 In the fall of 1919 I decided to go to O.A.C. at Guelph. This was after the First World War and an inducement was offered to returned soldiers. Two hundred and sixty-five of us students were enrolled in the freshman class of year ’23. In November, I contracted pneumonia and after five days in hospital, came home. The three months I had attended gave me some idea of the work and what was required of me if I was to succeed. Your entrance was the only qualification.

In the fall of 1920 I returned to O.A.C. and had to enter the Associate Class. I entered a speaking contest and was awarded first prize. I was also secretary of the Literary Society and this gave me good training. I joined the Poultry Club and won high marks in two years. I went to Chalmers United Church Sundays and to social functions at the College.

There are things that happen in life that we never forget. One of these was when I got my room at College and had my trunk delivered. I opened it up and on top of everything else was a copy of the Holy Bible that Mother had put in for me to read. This was a reminder to me of the faith my parents had in Christianity and the hope that I would have the same.

These years in College (1919-22) were a wonderful experience and training for me even though I returned to the farm. They helped in the farm work directly and also in understanding better what you would read in books and farm magazines regarding research and experimental work. It also helped in getting work with the Department of Agriculture in poultry judging at school and fall fairs. By the way, for several years, I judged at 21 school fairs in Huron County, first with Steve Stothers and then with Geo Patterson and Geo McCague. The greatest benefit, however, was learning to live and work with people in your business and social life. It also helped when I applied for a job with the Dominion Department of Agriculture for the position of Record of Performance (R.O.P.) Dairy Inspector. The training for the job was really just a review of what I had learned in the Dairy Department at O.A.C. Having to live with farm families at work was also made easier by the fact that we learn to live with people in our years at College.

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