John Errington Moles, born in Simcoe County, Ontario, was a great ambassador for Canadian agriculture throughout all aspects of his outstanding career with Maple Leaf Mills, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Ontario Hydro and the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.
Johnny Moles, as he was affectionately known, served the national scene from a number of locations in southern Ontario after his graduation from the Ontario Agricultural College with a diploma in 1932 and a degree in 1936. His experience as commanding officer of the Canadian Corvette HMCS Kitchener with a crew of 90 took him into convoy escort duty in the Atlantic during the Second World War.
In the early years of television, John Moles accepted the challenge of bringing the stories on agriculture to any who would listen. Since he had sold feed and been an active farm operator, he knew his subject matter and his audience. He became a TV star as host/commentator of one of Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s flagship programs, Country Calendar, and the voice of Radio Noon on CBC radio.
John had a vision to provide electrical service of sufficient capacity to fully mechanize and automate modern farms in a safe and economical manner. To accomplish this he brought together inspection, service and supplier people to learn the requirements of progressive farms. He convinced the regulatory people to change electrical codes and rural service policies to accommodate top-of-pole switches and central metering to provide multiple service points around the farmstead. This then led to significant changes to the Canadian electrical code for farm buildings.
Through the Canadian Electrical Association John Moles became an influential member of the National 4-H Council. He believed that rural youth provided the future of agriculture and worked through the council and the 4-H Foundation to support that vision. As president of the council, John initiated a complete review of policies and programs, maintaining that no worthwhile policy change was impossible. John started the first 4-H Electrical Club in Canada and became a trustee of the Canadian 4-H Foundation.
As general manager of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, John worked tirelessly on the team to enhance the premiere showcase of Canadian agriculture. His position there provided the opportunity to work with all the breed associations across Canada and to promote Canadian agriculture at its best among people in all walks of life at home and abroad.
His contributions attracted the Outstanding Agrologist Award from the Ontario Institute of Agrologists, and a term on the University of Guelph Senate. He was an active participant in the OAC Alumni Association, the Canadian Agricultural Marketing Association and the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame Association.
John Moles never missed an opportunity to give an enthusiastic talk to any group on the importance of and opportunities in Canadian Agriculture.