J. Frank McGill
Georgia Agricultural Hall of Fame
A native of Chula, Georgia, Frank McGill earned a bachelor’s degree in agronomy in 1951 and a master’s degree in agronomy in 1962 from the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
He began his career with UGA as a county agent in southwest Georgia and later became the state’s UGA Cooperative Extension peanut specialist. McGill, who worked at the Coastal Plain Experiment Station in Tifton, Georgia, was a member of the UGA Cooperative Extension peanut team that developed a “package approach” for peanut production in Georgia. From 1954 to 1982, McGill’s expertise helped Georgia’s peanut yields increase from 955 pounds per acre in 1955 to 2,040 pounds in 1967 and 3,220 pounds in 1974.
Over his career, McGill traveled to 21 countries as a peanut consultant. He traveled to Australia and India to review research and extension programs and to Honduras, Suriname and Barbados to jump-start local peanut production and to help eliminate pellagra, a protein deficiency that was affecting children there.
McGill served as a technical adviser to the Georgia Peanut Commission, U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee, National Peanut Council and the American Peanut Growers Group.
His honors include being named president of the American Peanut Research and Education Society and chairman of a special task force requested by the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee to determine the 40-year impact of peanut policy on the family farm. UGA named him a D.W. Brooks Distinguished Professor of Agronomy and Progressive Farmer magazine named him Man of the Year.
He was inducted into the Georgia Peanut Hall of Fame in 1982 and received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Peanut Council in 1999. The Council also officially named McGill “Mr. Peanut” that year. In 1996, he was inducted into the Georgia Agricultural Hall of Fame and received the American/World Agriculture Award from the National County Agents Association in 2000. In 2018, he received the Valor Award from the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation.
McGill was selected as one of 12 UGA scientists whose work has impacted the world in the last 100 years as part of UGA’s centennial celebrations. In October 2018, he was honored by the UGA Graduate School as an Alumnus of Distinction.
Occupation: County extension agent; Georgia Extension Service general agronomist/peanut specialist; peanut consultant with M&M Mars.