Associate Professor Emeritus


University of British Columbia, 1974, PhD, Animal Nutrition
University of British Columbia, 1969, MSc, Animal Nutrition
University of British Columbia, 1966, BSc, Animal Science

Additional Information

Jim Shelford was born in Burns Lake, BC, in 1944 to a pioneer ranching family from Francois Lake, BC. He started school with his mother as his teacher in a one-room school at Ootson Lake. He enjoyed his early life in the Lakes district of north-central BC, and participated in local sports – hockey on natural ice in the winter and softball during the summer. Later he boarded in Burns Lake while attending high school since his home was 50 km out of town and there was no school bus.

Jim attended UBC and received the degrees of BSA (Animal Science) in 1966, MSc (Animal Nutrition) in 1969 and PhD in 1974. He was appointed to the Faculty in the Department of Animal Science first as a Lecturer in 1972, then as an Assistant Professor. He was subsequently promoted to Associate then full Professor in 1998. Dr Shelford’s life was cut short in April, 2002, when he passed away after a prolonged period of ill-health. A dedicated professor, he attended classes until two weeks before his untimely passing.

Specializing in ruminant nutrition, Dr Shelford enjoyed teaching various nutrition courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels and conducting research on dairy cattle. Throughout most of his life, Jim expended enormous effort and time helping young people. Within the Faculty, Jim was the Animal Science professor that students most often consulted for academic advice. He obviously enjoyed helping students achieve their goals. During the academic term there always seemed to be one or more students in his office or waiting to see him! Jim also dedicated a great deal of time to helping students obtain financial aid, and for years served on, or chaired, scholarship committees, both within the Faculty and at the university-wide level.

As an undergraduate student, Jim worked during the summers for the BC Ministry of Agriculture in 4-H programs on Vancouver Island and in the Fraser Valley. Later, as his sons grew up, he was a leader in the Scouts Canada movement for fifteen years and enjoyed telling stories about activities such as winter tenting during snow storms in the local mountains and attending inter-provincial jamborees. He was a natural outdoorsman.

Jim was well known to the dairy community for the relevance of his research and his participation in various industry associations. His research activities covered a broad range of topics related to dairy and forage production in which he mentored many Canadian and international students, post-doctoral fellows and visiting scientists. His research was often collaborative with industry and was supported by numerous agencies including NSERC, Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada, the Science Council of BC and various industries. His keen interest in extension was evidenced by his involvement in numerous industry conferences. Jim was a valued member of the BC Institute of Agrologists, the American Society of Animal Science and the American Dairy Science Association. He served as President of the Canadian Society of Animal Science (1984-85), as an Associate Editor of the Canadian Journal of Animal Science and as a member of the Editorial Policy Board of the Canadian Journals of Animal, Plant and Soil Science. He also served as a member of the Review Committee of the Agriculture & Agr-Food Canada Research Branch Dairy Program.

Jim gave much time and energy to the establishment of the UBC Dairy Education and Research Centre in Agassiz, BC. He was proud of this facility, a unique partnership of UBC and Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada, developed to serve both the dairy industry and UBC students. The Centre is now a leading international dairy research facility for animal behavior, nutrition and reproduction.

In his honour, the University established the Dr James A Shelford Scholarship Fund for undergraduate and graduate students studying dairy production. The large number of donations from across North America made it possible to award the scholarship for the first time in September 2002.

Dr Shelford is survived by his wife Helen, and their three sons, Timothy, Jeremy and Mark; they reside in Vancouver, BC.

R Blair and C R Nichols 2002