Veteran farm journalist John Morriss has been awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for his contribution to Canada’s agricultural industry.
Morriss, who began his journalism career in 1975 with Grainews, is associate publisher and editorial director of Farm Business Communications, which publishes the Manitoba Co-operator as well as other respected journals including Grainews, Country Guide and Canadian Cattlemen.
The Grain Growers of Canada (GGC) nominated Morriss for the honour commemorating Queen Elizabeth’s 60-year reign.
GGC director and Morris-area farmer Art Enns presented the medal to Morriss Dec. 17 during a Manitoba Farm Writers’ and Broadcasters’ (MFWBA) event in Winnipeg.
“Your accomplishments are many,” Enns said of Morriss, who has also been active in the Manitoba Farm Writers’, Canadian Federation of Farm Writers’ and Farm Radio International.
Not everyone agrees with Morriss’s editorials, but farmers respect his opinion, Enns said.
Morriss joined the Canadian Wheat Board in 1977 as an information officer and later became director of information.
In 1989 he was named publisher and editor of the Manitoba Co-operator, a position he held until 2002 when Morriss and five other employees were fired following a change in the paper’s ownership. They, along with a seventh partner, founded Farmers’ Independent Weekly later that year. It merged with the Co-operator in 2007.
In 1996 Morriss won the Canadian Farm Writers’ Federation Gold Award for best feature for a series on food aid projects in Ethiopia and Eritrea.
In 2006 the Canadian Agri-Marketing Association named him Agri-Marketer of the year.
“You’re the senior statesman of Manitoba agricultural journalism and you’re known for even-handed and intelligent and insightful commentary,” said Crystal Jorgenson, communications specialist for the University of Manitoba’s faculty of agriculture and food sciences.