John E. Moxley
When John Moxley, BSc(Agr)’47, MSc’52, established the Dairy Herd Analysis Service (DHAS) in 1966, which later became PATLQ and, more recently, Valacta, little could he have foreseen the enormous success that this venture would achieve. Moxley, then a professor in Animal Science, was interested in livestock production traits and nutrition. While working on his PhD at Cornell, he had the opportunity to observe the set up of a computer-oriented dairy herd improvement operation, and the foresight to see that a similar system would greatly benefit Quebec dairy farmers. With the support of Dean George Dion, DHAS was started. It is a success story that never looked back. It started with a staff of five, a computer and an infra-red milk analyzer. More than 100 farmers received individual records for each cow in their dairy herds and feeding recommendations to improve productivity. Within a year, more than 300 dairy farms were benefiting from this service and, within 10 years, the production of more than 200,000 cattle from Quebec, Ontario and the Maritimes was being analyzed. When Dr. Moxley was awarded the Grindley Medal by the Agricultural Institute of Canada, the citation stated that Moxley “… is a Canadian who has made one particular identifiable contribution to Canadian agriculture, the impact of which has been far-reaching.” Valacta’s mission is to strengthen Quebec’s milk production sector by stimulating the development of knowledge and technology transfer to Quebec’s milk producers, a mission started by Dr. Moxley, whose immeasurable contributions have laid the foundation for this new centre of expertise in which McGill is proud to remain a partner. In October 2006, the Macdonald Branch of the McGill Alumni Association (MAA) honoured him in with one of the inaugural Distinguished Alumni Awards.