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Thomas Lecky

Dr. Thomas Lecky was an agricultural scientist born in Jamaica. He was a pioneer in crossbreeding and greatly influenced Jamaican and tropical farming habits. He achieved many awards and recognitions, most notably the Order of Merit, the highest civilian honor in Jamaica. Thomas Lecky was born in Portland, Jamaica on December 31, 1904. At the time of his birth, Jamaica was a British colony.

Furthermore, Jamaica gained independence in 1962, when it also became a Commonwealth Realm. As a Commonwealth Realm, Jamaica has a monarch and is therefore a constitutional monarchy, but since the monarch has relatively no power, Jamaica is a parliamentary democracy.

Jamaica is a third-world country with a GDP of US$23 billion dollars. Its economy is a mix of state-run and private enterprises. Additionally, Jamaica’s major industries are agriculture, mining, manufacturing, and tourism. Tourism is the main source of income of Jamaicans.

Moreover, Jamaica’s economy is mainly fueled by its huge tourism industries that feed off of tourists that visit Jamaica year-round.

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Lecky was heavily involved in agricultural science throughout his life. Agricultural science is the introduction and improvement of production techniques. This science has gone through many transformations in the last century. These transformations have been fueled by cutting edge innovations such as crossbreeding, genetically modified crops, and other farming techniques. Dr. Lecky was interested in agriculture from a very early age.

He grew increasingly concerned with his family’s diet, which he argued was very imbalanced and had a lack of protein. As he got interested in farming and agriculture, he started to see cattle as a healthy and efficient source of meat and milk, two elements very rich in protein.

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Moreover, he thought that there had to be a balance between livestock and crops in order for the Jamaican population to lead healthy and successful lives. His interest in agriculture led him to be very involved in his local farms. Lecky soon embarked on a journey to educate himself about agriculture.

He received a scholarship to attend the Government Farm School, now part of the College of Arts and Sciences. A few years later, he became a Livestock Foreman at the Hope Farm. There he grew involved in the testing of cattle breeds imported from various countries in Europe. He noticed that these breeds of cattle were not well suited for the Jamaican climate. After conducting research of these breeds, he traveled to Canada where he received his Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Guelph in 1934.

Lecky returned to Jamaica in 1935 after finishing his studies in Canada. He had various teaching jobs in local schools and later became an Inspector of Livestock. While working, he conducted many experiments of new breeds of cattle that were better suited for Jamaica’s mountainous environment and its climate. He later used the information he had found while conducting his experiments and travelled to England, where he studied at the University of Edinburgh. There, he included his experiments in his dissertation and earned a Doctorate.

Thomas Lecky had developed the first native Jamaican breed of cattle by 1951. This milk-producing breed was called the Jamaican Hope. A few years later, Dr. Lecky went on to develop a beef-producing breed called the Jamaican Red that was well suited for Jamaica’s mountainous regions. Additionally, he developed a winter resisting breed that was called the Jamaican Black. As a result of his innovations, Dr. Lecky greatly revolutionized Jamaica’s agricultural industry. His new breeds led to more efficient farming methods that gave Jamaica an economical boost.

In addition, Lecky’s milk-producing breeds heavily influenced later breeding projects in many tropical countries. Dr. Thomas Lecky was one of the leaders of crossbreeding in the Caribbean. Because of this, Lecky was greatly recognized during his lifetime. He was the first Jamaican to receive degrees in agriculture in both undergraduate and graduate levels. This, and his breeds of cattle, led him to receive the Order of Merit, the highest civilian honor in Jamaica, and the Norman Manley Award for excellence.

Thomas Lecky died at the ripe age of 90 in 1994. Throughout his life, he transformed Jamaican farming and livestock. The Jamaican Hope, Red, and Black, all had features made for Jamaican’s unique geography and climate. His crossbreeding innovations greatly influenced many animal genetic specialists for many years. And for all of this, he was justly awarded Jamaica’s highest civilian honor, the Order of Merit. In conclusion, Dr. Thomas Lecky took his childhood concerns and acted to meet them and ended up revolutionizing worldwide agriculture.

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Thomas Lecky. (2020, Jun 02). Retrieved from

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