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John Alexander Craig | Inducted by 1920

Updated: Nov 2, 2023

Considered the “father of the technical art of live stock judging in America”.

1868-1910 | Artist: Robert Wadsworth Grafton (1876-1936)

Impact & Accomplishments

Educated at Ontario Agricultural College and the University of Toronto, John A. Craig, from Russell, Ontario, was considered the “father of the technical art of live stock judging in America” (Breeder’s Gazette, 1910).

While still a student, he edited the Canadian Live Stock Journal and, in 1889, was chosen to head the first American college devoted to animal husbandry, at the University of Wisconsin.

He subsequently held faculty and experiment station positions at Iowa State, Texas Agricultural College, and Oklahoma State. Craig developed the livestock judging score card system and worked with others to establish uniform scoring based on defined and outlined standards of type for the respective breeds. Judging Live Stock, which he published in 1901, was the authoritative work on the subject for many years.

Professor Craig led efforts to organize the first major intercollegiate judging contests, at the Trans-Mississippi Exposition in 1898 and at the International in 1900. Suffering from poor health, he died on his San Antonio ranch in 1910, ending a brief but significant career in animal husbandry education.

Did You Know?

Craig foresaw the unlimited influence that uniform scoring would have upon the livestock industry. He substituted for conjecture and guess symstematic and orderly comparison of animal characteristics and qualifications. With the help of competent leaders in the livestock industry he defined and outlined standards of type for the respective breeds.

The first copies of the scorecards were used in the classes in animal husbandry which Craig taught. The copies were first made on flimsy sheets of paper which the students filled out and turned in for correction to their instructors. Craig revised his scorecards in later years, weighing the points in the scale so satisfactorily as to win general approval among instructors and among livestock judges. For ten years Craig tried out his scorecard, and then in 1901 published his book Judging Livestock. Four editions had been printed by the end of the first year.

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