Albert H. Flay
Born on a farm at Te Awamutu, A. H. Flay was educated at the local district High School before coming to Canterbury in 1924. In that year he completed the Agricultural lntermediate Examination at Canterbury College and also a section of B.Sc. At Lincoln College, 1925-27, he was one of the few Degree students who qualified for and received the College Gold Medal, normally the premier distinction for the Diploma Course. He also completed a B.Sc. concurrently with his B.Agr. By the end of 1928 he had qualified with the distinctions of Dip. of Agriculture, B.Agr., B.Sc., and M.Agr.Sc., with second class honours in Agr. Economics.
In 1929 Mr Flay was employed under a D.S.I.R. Grant on the College staff as Pasture Management Research Officer and before long had 20 farmers co-operating in this work. In 1982 he was given the opportunity by Professor Alexander to establish a Farm Advisory Service. This aimed to give advice in Farm Management and especially to assist farmers suffering from effects of the economic depression. Two years later 12 farms were under complete control and 78 under partial control or receiving special advice. In addition to Farm Management advice, reports were prepared for mortgagees or mortgagors. Valuations of properties were also supplied involving regular attendance at the Relief Adjustment Courts for the purpose of giving evidence.
During the early 1930'a J. W. Calder completed his work on the selection of an improved strain of cocksfoot, C.23. Mr Flay played the major part in introducing this to the farming community and to the commercial world.
In succeeding years a number assistants were employed, all of whom would testify to the valuable experience they had with Mr Flay and who in turn have since succeeded in other supervisory positions of the Public Service and in professional agriculture.
For three years he had control of the management of the Seafield Irrigation Farm and with R. L. James can be regarded u a pioneer in the management aspects of irrigation in Mid Canterbury. In 1936 he was appointed to the academic staff of the College as Lecturer In Farm Management, with a considerable teaching programme now added to his Farm Advisory work. He pioneered Farm Management and the farm unit approach, both in teaching and advisory work. In 1937 Professor Hudson introduced an entirely new concept of agricultural teaching at Lincoln, with the course in Valuation and Farm Management. The College was fortunate in having men such as R. H. Bevin and A. H. Flay who were immediately able to handle the problems of Farm Management and Valuation. The Farm Advisory Service under Mr Flay was in a position to give valuable assistance to this new course. The V.F.M., as it is now known, soon proved its worth and became very well established. It has supplied Field Officers to all Government Departments interested in practical agriculture and Mr Flay must share in the success it has achieved.
Further responsibilities were added to Mr Flay's work. This included the supervisory management of the Kirwee Farm established for research into stock health, the organisation of several economic surveys, and an increasing influence in the management of the College farms. In 1950 he was appointed as an Associate Professor of the College, and by then was head of the Department combining Valuation and Farm Management. In 1951 he was overseas on a ten months' study leave in Europe and America. From 1952 be bas had personal supervision of Ashley Dene, the College light land farm. By that year his diversified programme and the enlarged College leaching activities had warranted the employment of eight assistants. There were now 50 f arms receiving farm advisory guidance and Associate Professor Flay was also very active in the work of classification of land for various Catchment Boards. In 1956 he was instrumental in organising the formation of the Lauriston Farm Improvement Club, the first in the South Island. Later he was active in the formation of similar clubs in Marlborough and Cheviot.
Throughout his 34 years of service at the College, Associate Professor Flay has become renowned and esteemed by the farming community, and despite the exacting demands of his many extension activities he has additionally been able to publish several meritorious papers on aspects of agronomy, farm management and irrigation. He has become prominent in several societies, having contributed to the conference meetings of the New Zealand Grasslands Association, the New Zealand Institute of Agricultural Science, the New Zealand Institute of Valuers, the New Zealand and Australian Economic Society and the Royal Society of New Zealand. He is a past chairman of the Canterbury branches of the New Zealand and Australian Economic: Society and of the New Zealand Institute of Valuers. He is a registered public valuer and is a Fellow of the Institute. He is one of the five members of the Valuers' Registration Board which since It was formed under the 1949 Act has assisted in screening and registering some 1,000 valuers.
Of his four children his son has completed both the Diploma of Agriculture and the Diploma In Valuation and Farm Management and is a farmer in Mid Canterbury.
In brief, Associate Professor Flay's work in agriculture can be directly attributed to his initial courses at this College and fully merits the award of the Bledisloe Medal.
Retirement of Associate Professor Flay. After 38 years' association with the College, first as a student (26-27) and as a staff member since 1929, Albert retires as from January 1964. He will be living at his residence, Memorial Avenue, Christchurch and in retiring will carry with him an enormous fund of goodwill from Old Students and the fanning community in general. He is to be succeeded as Head of the Farm Management by H. E. Garrett (85-88), also as Associate Professor.
Source from P83-85, 1963 Lincoln College MagazinePersonA. H. Flay