Born on 18th September 1882 in Northam, Devon, as the sixth of seven children to William Stapledon and Mary Clibbert, Sir George Stapledon studied Natural Sciences at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, before working for the family firm in Suez, Egypt. In 1906, he returned to Cambridge to study biology, having developed an interest in agriculture. In 1910 he joined the Royal Agricultural College, where he argued that grasslands were a key part in the success of agriculture.
He is regarded as one of the greatest agricultural scientists of the twentieth century, being partly responsible for the regeneration of rural areas during the inter-war years. He made remarkable achievements in upland agricultural improvement by reclaiming and rehabilitating mountain and hill land.
He was a professor of agriculture in Aberystwyth at the University College of Wales from 1912 where he worked as a director of a plant breeding station from 1919 until 1942.
His good work was recognised in 1939, when he was elected as a fellow of the Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge and he received a knighthood. He increased the awareness of the importance of grasslands to agriculture, developing new types of pasture grasses, and later founded the British Grassland Society, of which he was the first president. He received honorary doctorates from the University of Nottingham and the University of Wales in recognition of his contribution to grassland and agricultural science.
As well as being an agricultural pioneer, Stapledon was also involved in politics, where he focussed on trying to make farming a main part of economic life producing papers discussing this view.
Having suffered years of ill-health, he died on 16th September 1960, in Bath, Somerset, leaving behind a worldwide legacy to the agricultural community.