John Duncan MacFarlane, long-time farm leader and a leading farmer in Saskatchewan, was born in Gargunnock, Scotland, in 1892. J. D., as he was known from the early days, took his formal education in Scotland, his first job being with a law office in Stirling. In 1910 at the age of 17 he left that post to come to Canada. He worked on farms in Saskatchewan, learning how to fire steam engines and eventually gaining his engineerÝs certificate.
He was a member of the 1912 class, first agriculture class to be graduated from the University of Saskatchewan. When the First World War broke out in 1914 he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Engineers. While overseas he transferred to the Royal Flying Corps as a pilot, carrying on bombing operations. Following the war he worked as a field supervisor for the Soldier Settlement Board for three years before taking up farming on his homestead near Carlea.
His homestead became a model farm as he took up growing registered seed, raising Clydesdale horses, Shorthorn cattle, Yorkshire pigs, Shropshire sheep and Barred Rock chickens. His livestock and poultry were consistent winners at local and provincial fairs. He and his wife, Jean, also received awards for the produce of their fruit garden.
Most widely known as a director of United Grain Growers Ltd., from 1947 to 1968, J.D. also served as director and president of the Saskatchewan Registered Seed Growers plant at Moose Jaw, as a Pool delegate, Liberal member of the Legislature for Melfort 1934-38; president of the Saskatchewan Agricultural Societies Association 1930-33; a founding member of the Canadian Legion; director of the Hudson Bay Route Association and a perennial delegate to the Canadian Federation of Agriculture.