Professor James Douglas Stewart, MA.,PhD. DipVFM. FNZAS., The Department of Farm Management and Rural Valuation has a wide participation and responsibility in almost every aspect of Lincoln College operations. Its 'students move on into fields of influential standing
throughout New Zealand and beyond, in farm advisory work Government offices, rural banking and commercial firms. Many take their knowledge into their own practical farming careers.
The Diploma course run by the department for thirty-seven years has now been phased into a new degree form, and it is fitting that one of the department's outstanding graduates and architects, and the first encumbant of the Chair of Farm Management, Emeritus Professor James Douglas Stewart, should be awarded the Bledisloe Medal for 1976.
James Stewart came into the discipline of practical work and in-course instruction as a R,ural Field Cadet in 1944. Two of the next six years of his training were spent in full-time Lincoln studies to qualify for the Diploma of Valuation and Farm Management at the. end of 1949, and he then spent a year in the Economics Section of the -Department of Agriculture, being especially involved in the economics of problem areas in New Zealand farming.
The then Director of Lincoln College, Professor Hudson, offered Stewart a position as Assistant Lecturer in Farm Management during 1951, and while so employed he. continued with part-time University studies, gaining his M.A. Degree in Economics at Canterbury University College. He was promoted to Lecturer in the mid-nineteen-fifties and was closely associated with 'Professor Brian Philpott in the field of Agricultural Economics. Their combined efforts won for them in 1959 the award of Royal Agricultural Society of New Zealand for what was judged to be the best series of published papers on agricultural economics.
A Shaw Savill Centennial Scholarship took James Stewart to the University of Reading in 1959, and he returned to Lincoln as a Senior Lecturer in Farm Management in 1962 with a Ph.D. ·He then embarked on the advancement of applied farm management within and beyond the College, with substantial emphasis on production economies and techniques of operations research which served a new generation of well equipped management advisers while also strengthening management methods on the Lincoln College farms themselves. At Ashley Dene, for example, he developed the total lucerne systm under high stocking rates, consequences of which were the development of drought strategies under the system and extension work which was of considerable benefit to the general farming community.
In 1964 Dr Stewart beCftme the first Professor of Farm Management within the New Zealand University system. He sharpened the analytical approach to management and developed post-graduate work with emphasis upon specialised research in New Zealand and abroad. Professor Stewart's appointment to the Chair coincided with his participation in agricultural deliberations at national level. He was Chairman, for example of the Scale of F arming Committee of the Agricultural Development Conference, and made a notable contribution towards expanding the New Zealand programme of economic aid to developing countries abroad. He led a New Zealand mission to Indonesia in 1971, and following a similar mission to Sumatra led by Prnfessor Ian Coop, submissions were made to the World Bank on the developmed;lnt in Indonesia of the beef cattle industry. In 1973 he visited the World Bank in Washington, D.C., the United Nations Development Plan in New York, and the Ministry of Agriculture in Iran to review areas of possible New Zealand participation in agricultural developrμent. A year later he led a mission to Saudi Arabia to report on management of the Haradh irrigation project, and went also to Iraq to identify projects suitable for New Zealand participation.
Last year .he was cons1,1ltant for the Food and Agricultural Organisation in Uruguay which made an appraisal of farm extension service$ there, and towards the end of 1975 he was with a mission in Hungary and Rumania investigating the prospects of New Zealand participatiOn in the development of their sheep industry. The New Zealand Government appointed him Chairman of New Zealand's Advisory Committee on Overseas Aid and Development charged with the responsibility of monitoring the overseas aid programme and reporting to the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
This extensive record, which has widened the orbit of Lincoln College's influence in farming practices in New Zealand and overseas, would be sufficient justification in itself for Council to' award the Bledisloe Medal to Professor Stewart, but he has now entered another field in which his influence can be still further felt. Dr Stewart resigned his position as Head of the Department of Farm Management and Rural Valuation to accept the Principalship of Lincoln College.
It may be added that in circles not exclusively associated with educational and farming practice, Professor Stewart has earned equivalent fame. His name is intimately linke\f with a certain sport known as rugby football. For a quarter of a century he has been successively front row forward for his University and for Canterbury province, and as a captain, selector and coach his example and leadership have been much to the advantage of New Zealand rugby. He appears to have shared limitless talents among the sporting; academic and practical farming worlds.
This award of Lincoln College's premier honour, which is esteemed throughout the country, is in substance a tribute and testimony to those who through the years devised and guided the V.F.M. programme together with the hundreds of young men produced from that course. Professor Stewart stands for them as evidence of the fulfilment of the hopes of its founders.
Principal of Lincoln Agricultural College (1974-1984)KeywordsBledisloe MedalprincipalVice-ChancellorDirector