University of Alberta Press

Book details

Publication date: November 2007
Features: B&W photographs, introduction, notes, bibliography, index
Keywords: Biography / Agriculture / Leadership
Subject(s): BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / General, Biography, Canadian History, Agriculture, Biography / Agriculture / Leadership
Publisher(s): The University of Alberta Press

Ken Hoeppner. A graduate of the University of Saskatchewan and the University of Calgary, Ken Hoeppner has taught at post-secondary institutions in Alberta. During the 1970s he worked with Arnold Platt on issues of land use and communal farming.

"On my several visits to the Punjab I often heard the agriculturists credit the Prairie geniuses that made the wheat crops so productive. Platt saved the Prairie crop from Sawfly with his development of RESCUE wheat. The story of his life is an important part of our Canadian history." Ron MacIsaac, Dec 5, 2007


"A graduate of the University of Alberta's Faculty of Agriculture, Platt was hired by Canada's Dominion Experimental Farms Service to help combat the sawfly, an insect that had decimated western wheat farms in the '30s and '40s. He cross-bred avavailable wheat strains until he came up with a solid-stemmed variety he called Rescue wheat....The farming community continues to benefit from Platt's persistence, [Hoeppner] said. 'This particular piece of work has remained valuable and continues to be the basis for all sawfly resistant wheat.'" Ileiren Poon, Express News, Apr 18, 2008.


"A farmer's son born in Innisfree in 1909, Arnold Platt saved Canadian farmers millions of dollars by developing sawfly resistant Rescue wheat; as president of the Farmers Union of Alberta and CEO of the UFA, he led the way as technolgy and economic changes forever altered the family farm; And, 30 years before last spring's Land Use Framework meetings, he championed increased urban density and 'proper stewardship' of Alberta's lands, recommending that conversion from agicultural to industrial happen 'only if...really needed.'" Kristine Kowalchuk, Westworld, Apr 2008


"Scholars are increasingly turning their attention to the rural history of the Canadian West. Much of their work centers on social and economic history, with subcategories of ethnicity, settlement, and civic organizations. Some of these scholars, such as Ken Hoeppner, remind us that common individuals make a difference, and they do not need to be major political, military, or industrial giants. Farmers and those who work on their behalf can influence the course of history, too. So it is with the life of Arnold Platt, farmer, scientist, and agricultural leader....Hoeppner has written a commendatory narrative, based on prodigious research, of a good man who rose from a hardscrabble farm in Alberta to become a scientist, president of the FUA, chief executive officer of the United Farmers of Alberta cooperative, and a commissioner of the McPherson Royal Commission on Transportation. He also helped arrange the first sale of Canadian wheat to the Soviet Union. Platt advocated creative problem-solving rather than confrontation, and education rather than ideology, and Canadian agriculture is better for his life well lived." R. Douglas Hurt, The American Review of Canadian Studies, Spring, 2008


"Platt is best described as a Renaissance farmer who achieved international recognition as a plant breeder, bureaucrat, administrator, and farm activist.... The author chronologically traces Platt's career and family history, interweaving interviews, footnotes, and pictures. The Ordinary Genius provides an accurate account of mid-20th-century social movements and prairie life. The author's painstaking research documents the transition of Alberta agribusiness that continues to shape prairie agriculture....Recommended." I.D. Gordon, Brock University, Choice Magazine, July 2008

ISBNs: 9780888644800 978-0-88864-480-0 Title: the ordinary genius