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Jack Stothart and Howard Fredeen

Jack Stothart

John Gilmour (Jack) Stothart and Howard Fredeen took their scientific knowledge and used it to help put the town of Lacombe, Alberta on the international agricultural map.

Stothart and Fredeen developed the only breed of farm livestock to originate in Canada, the Lacombe swine.

A decision in the late 1940s by the federal Experimental Farms Service to designate areas of expertise specific to each station paved the way for Stothart’s and Fredeen’s success. Lacombe was specified as the western location for specialization in animal breeding.

Both men had significant scientific background in scientific breeding and testing. Stothart arrived at the Department of Agriculture Research Station at Lacombe in 1949, and began working with Fredeen, who had been hired in 1947 as an animal geneticist. Stothart was transferred from Ottawa, but he already familiar with genetic research in swine; he had originated the department's swine selection and breeding programs, and was familiar with the Lacombe station’s contributions in that area.

Fredeen used years of genetic analysis of feedlot and carcass records for more than 12, 000 pigs tested under the federal Advanced Registry policy from 1939 to 1950 as the basis for his PhD studies at Iowa State College in 1950 and 1951.

The selective swine breeding that began in 1947 at Lacombe under Stothart and Fredeen’s guidance paid off in 1957 when the Lacombe breed was officially registered.

Stothart and Fredeen continued in significant leadership roles within the Canadian swine industry. Stothart was the technical adviser to the National Advanced Registry Board for swine from 1946 to 1955. Fredeen was appointed to the registry board in 1956, became a member of its genetics advisory committee when it was formed in 1967, and was committee chairman from 1973-1979.

Stothart was appointed superintendent of the Lacombe station in 1955, and was reappointed as director in 1959, a position he held until 1976.

Under the pair’s leadership, the Lacombe research station became a magnet for visiting animal scientists from Canada and other nations. Both shared their expertise with other countries; Stothart was invited to present a series of lectures on swine production in Cuba in 1972, and in 1975 Fredeen was a member of the first Canadian agricultural mission to visit the People's Republic of China.

The pioneering work done by Stothart and Fredeen earned them many honours. Stothart (1966) and Fredeen (1967) were elected fellows of the Agricultural Institute of Canada. Fredeen has also received the Genetics Society of Canada Award of Excellence for his work in animal genetics.

Stothart died in 1982, and was elected posthumously to the Alberta Agriculture Hall of Fame.

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