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John Toogood

John Toogood spent his formative years in the dry dustbowl days of the Dirty Thirties, and the images of billowing clouds of soil drifting across the land must have made a significant impression on the young man.

John Toogood

One of the most prominent and influential soil scientists in all of North America, Toogood received his PhD from the University of Minnesota in 1948, and spent 30 years at the University of Alberta Soil Sciences department working tirelessly to improve agricultural production through research into soil testing and fertility, erosion control, production systems and agrometerology.

Toogood was involved in a wide range of research relating to soil stability and preservation; his early water erosion research was the first of its kind in Alberta and several extension bulletins and booklets were landmark publications.

The simplified textural triangle, proposed by Toogood in 1958 and widely adopted across Canada, is now gaining international usage. His foresight was critical to the preservation of the Breton Soil Fertility Plots, a critical tool used to gauge long term agricultural practices on land.

Toogood’s influence on a generation of Alberta soil scientists was marked through his 15-year long tenure as department head (1959-69), and later department chair (1969-74), at the University of Alberta’s Soil Sciences Department.

Toogood was an active participant in professional activities, especially with the Alberta Institute of Agrologists (A.I.A.). He started in 1951 as Treasurer of the Edmonton Branch; in 1967–68 he held the position of President of the A.I.A; 1968–69 Past -President; and from 1974–78 he served as Vice-President of the International Society of Soil Science and Chairman of the Local Arrangements Committee for the 11th International Society of Soil Science Congress held in Edmonton in June 1978. He received the A.I.A.’s Distinguished Agrologist Award in 1993.

On 11 November 1998, Toogood passed away at the age of 83 years.

Toogood was posthumously inducted into Alberta Agriculture Hall of Fame in 2000 and the Canadian Conservation Hall of Fame in 2001. His picture has been added to the Conservation Hall of Fame Honour Wall in the Sir John Carling Building in Ottawa.

Toogood’s soil textural triangle is part of many soil classification courses across Canada, and has been adapted for international use.

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