P. G. Stevens
Percy G. Stevens, Student 1920-22; Staff 1938-60.
"P.G." retired at the end of December 1960 after 22 years of service as lecturer in animal husbandry.
Born in Christchurch, Mr Stevens attended the Christchurch Technical College, and in 1920 he went to Lincoln, where in 1922 he completed his diploma in agriculture. From 1923 to 1928 he was an agricultural master at the Ashburton Technical School. Then for 10 years he was in charge of animal husbandry at the Fielding Agricultural High School. He returned to Lincoln College in 1938 as a lecturer in animal husbandry.
With his departure the College sustained great loss, for he was one who took pride in the art of teaching and he deemed teaching students the vital function of the College; he was a stockman of rare skill and knowledge; also a horticulturalist; he was a writer and historian. With his wife he did all he could to make life at the College a rich and personal experience for students and few members of the community could have such a fund of esteem directed towards them by Old Students--all because of the basic integrity and kindness of Mr and Mrs Stevens. They were honoured by the College, together with Mr L. Morrison and Miss Lilburne, towards the end of last year, at a function at which presentations were made.
Almost 30 years ago Mr Stevens initiated a method of judging bacon and pork carcases by measurement. Dr. C. P. McMeekan, who was then lecturer in dairying at Massey Agricultural College, was associated with him in that work.
For many years Mr Stevens has been closely associated with pig producers and bacon curers. He was one of those responsible for the establishment of the Canterbury bacon competition, from which also developed the Nelson competition. Mr Stevens has been a regular judge of the Canterbury competition.
To give farmers a red pig with the characteristics of the Large White, Mr Stevens developed the Lincoln Red, which was a Tamworth-Large White cross, with pigs being selected in the second generation which had all the characteristics of the Large White except that they were red. With improvements in husbandry, Mr Stevens says, the need for this pig has disappeared, but there are still many of them about.
In the sheep-breeding world Mr Stevens has served on the councils of many breed societies and was at one time president of the Ryeland Society. He initiated the Corriedale merit sire test and for eight years carried on the system and published results of it.
Mr Stevens believes that future improvement in sheep breeding will come from progeny testing.
Mr Stevens has judged sheep and pigs at shows throughout the country, and has written numerous bulletins on sheep breeding and production and meat processing. He is also the author of three books. One of these, "John Grigg of Longbeach", earned him a first prize in the Canterbury centennial literary competition. He has also written two books on sheep. One of these is on husbandry and a second, on the breeds of sheep.
An able and interesting lecturer, Mr Stevens has become known to farmers throughout the South Island, and also to some extent in the North Island, because of the extensive tours which he has undertaken in the last 20 years. In the South Island he has travelled from Collingwood to Bluff and on the West Coast.
In 1952 he was awarded the Bledisloe Medal, the first award to a member of the College staff.
About five years ago he was granted refresher leave during which he travelled extensively in Europe and spent some time in Russia.
It is difficult to be brief and concise in eulogising P. G. Stevens --so much can be said in praise. Because he was such an all-rounder at the College there is also such a volume of fact to record; he was also football coach of some of the great teams; he guided the management of the Canteen, the debating groups--and so on, and so on.
Since retiring the Stevens have been living at Wakapuaka, Nelson, where they have been looking after a farm of a friend who is travelling abroad. Their health has not been good but they are cheerful and look forward to settling in retirement in Christchurch in 1962. Source: Biographical Note, 1961 Canterbury Agricultural College, p91-94.KeywordsCollege staffsheep-breedingBledisloe MedalChristchurch Technical CollegeLincoln Red Pig