Born in Winnipeg in 1950, John Morriss started his career in 1973 at the Biomass Energy Institute, which researched the use of farm products for fuel. In 1975 he managed a travelling information display for the Hall Commission on grain handling and transportation. He then moved to farm journalism, working as a freelance writer and becoming the first field editor for Grainews later that year. In 1977 he joined the information department of the Canadian Wheat Board, becoming director in 1982.
In 1989 John succeeded his father Bill Morriss as publisher and editor of the Manitoba Co-operator, where he became known for his weekly editorial commentaries on agricultural issues. While at the Co-operator he was part of its successful conversion from a free to a paid subscription publication.
In 2002 John and five other Co-operator staff left after a change in ownership, and three months later they started the Farmers Independent Weekly, a new paper for Manitoba farmers and which soon became known for the quality of its agricultural and rural news coverage.
After five years, the FIW merged with Farm Business Communications, where John took over as editorial director and associate publisher of the group, which included the Manitoba Co-operator, Grainews, Country Guide and Canadian Cattlemen. While at FBC, John was part of another successful farm newspaper startup with the launch of Alberta Farmer Express as a biweekly in 2002.
He has received several awards in his publishing and journalism career. In 1996 he received the Canadian Farm Writers Federation gold award for his series on the Canadian Foodgrains Bank projects in Ethiopia and Eritrea. That visit sparked an interest in helping overseas farmers through better information, and John served for eight years as a director of Farm Radio International, a Canadian organization that broadcasts practical farming information to small farmers in sub-Saharan Africa. He has served as president of the Manitoba Farm Writers and Broadcasters Association as well as of the Canadian Farm Writers Federation, which presented him with a lifetime achievement award in 2015. In 2012 he received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for his contributions to farm journalism, and in 2005 was recognized as Agri-Marketer of the Year by the Canadian Agri-Marketing Association.
John and his wife Joan live in Winnipeg, and have one daughter Sarah and a grandson who live in Europe.