Dr. William R. Graham

“Canada’s Poultryman of the Century” – that was the title given to Dr. W.R. Graham by the Ontario Poultry Council in Canada’s centennial year when granting him, posthumously, its award of merit.

When young Graham commenced his career in the poultry department at the Ontario Agricultural College, exhibition poultry occupied the spotlight. He didn’t fight the fanciers – instead he joined them – and soon gained recognition as a competent judge. At the same time, however, his experimental and research projects were designed to focus attention on utility. This led to the development of the OAC strain of Barred Plymouth Rocks, which soon became Canada’s national farm chicken.

As his staff grew in numbers, Graham began to assume the role of the “idea” man, particularly where research was involved. Being insatiably curious about all phases of the industry, he was inclined to ask many pertinent questions. In fact, he was sometimes accused of answering a question by asking another one. It soon became apparent, however, that this was his method of teaching students and associates to think for themselves.

In 1908, he was a co-founder of the Poultry Science Association, embracing members from both Canada and the United States. Four years later, he was a prime mover in the formation of the World’s Poultry Science Association, the sponsor of World Poultry Conferences.

During the First World War, he was largely responsible for Canada’s adoption of national grades for eggs and poultry meat. The Canadian Produce Association (1915) and the Ontario Poultry Council (1937) were products of his fertile mind.

Throughout his career, he developed a close liaison in the fields of graduate studies and research between OAC and its academic parent, the University of Toronto. In recognition of his many contributions, the University of Toronto conferred on him the degree of Doctor of Science in 1938.

Nominated By:
  • Canadian Feed Manufacturers’ Association