Dr. J.C. Berry

Dr. J.C. Berry

FEBRUARY 5, 1905 - FEBRUARY 19, 2002

Dr. John Coulter Berry was born in Langley, British Columbia, and spent his childhood and early life working on his Father’s dairy farm.

Deciding to pursue a more advanced career in agriculture Dr. Berry acquired a Bachelor’s Degree in Agricultural Science at the University of British Columbia in 1927. Upon graduation Dr. Berry quickly secured a job at the UBC’s animal husbandry department. Dr. Berry received his Master’s degree in 1937 and then received permission to take a leave and further his education at Iowa State College. Dr. Berry returned to Canada in 1939 with a Doctorate. Sadly, however, during Berry’s time in Iowa his wife Beulah passed while giving birth to their child, who also perished shortly after.

Throughout his career, Dr. Berry continued his research and advocacy for the dairy industry; frequently representing the UBC, Holstien Association, Junior Farmers, Canadian Ayshire Association, BC Jersey Breeders’ Association and Pacific National Exhibition in various leadership roles.

During the Second World War Dr. Berry helped organize emergency farm labour groups to maintain agricultural output with the shortage of home front manpower. In 1944 Dr. Berry was appointed to the agricultural advisory committee of the British Columbia Research Council for its inaugural year. Five years later Dr. Berry was a member of the Canadian Agricultural mission to the United Kingdom.

In the 1950s Dr. Berry’s research was instrumental in the development of the Breed Class Average system for examining milk or butterfat production within a cow’s class in order to assess breeding potential. The earliest development of the system could be seen in his doctoral thesis that assessed breeding worth via lactation records. The system quickly caught on across the nation and it was no surprise that some of Dr. Berry’s cows at the UBC took home all-Canadian best in class prizes when it came time for evaluation.

During the 1960s and 1970s Dr. Berry spent time abroad, conducting research, providing advice and teaching Animal Science in developing nations like India, Pakistan, Barbados and Zambia.

His official retirement from the UBC came on June 30th 1970. Later that year Dr. Berry was named a Fellow of the Agricultural Institute of Canada. In 1985 the Holstein Association nominated him for the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame, once accepted Dr. Berry became only the fourth British Columbian to have been inducted.

Dr. Berry passed away in 2002 and is survived by his advancements and advocacy for the dairy industry in British Columbia, Canada, and beyond.

Celebrating 150 Years of Canadian Agriculture