Dr. Richard Frank
(1928 - 2021)
Inducted in 2023
Nominated by: The Frank Family
After coming to Canada from England and graduating in the University of Guelph’s first PhD class, Dr. Richard Frank impacted Ontario agriculture in many ways. Beginning his career at Ridgetown College, he was responsible for some of the early research on the safe use of herbicides, instilling in his students a respect for the environment and for the safe and responsible use of pesticides and herbicides. He became the head of the newly established Pesticide Lab in 1966 where his initial priorities were testing and monitoring Ontario food and environmental samples for contamination residues. He also developed an Accreditation Program for private laboratories to facilitate the analysis of greenhouse media for plant nutrients and of animal feed for nutritive value. From 1982-1990, as the Director of the Agricultural Lab Services Board, Dr. Frank was amongst the earliest to recognize the perils of DDT and other organo-chlorine pesticides in the environment. His research on the correlation of pesticide use in fields to pesticide levels found in all major river basin outflow sampling was a first, and it was ultimately copied all over the world.
He was a member of the Ontario Pesticide Advisory Committee from 1971-2004 and then its vice chair. During that time, he helped ensure that no pesticide was made available for use in Ontario unless it met all the stringent requirements for environmental and personal safety. Among the initiatives Dr. Frank supported was the Minor Use Program for pesticides. He and his staff carried out the required testing and evaluation programs for those products to be used in minor industries and this allowed many smaller agricultural industries to thrive in Ontario. Over his long career, Dr. Frank was also the lead author on over 95 impactful scientific papers.
He sat on numerous technical committees, councils and task forces at the provincial and federal levels dealing with such issues as the Pest Control Products Act, the Ontario Pesticide Act and Regulations, the Great Lakes Regional Interdisciplinary Pesticide Council, the Sludge Guideline and Waste Utilization Committee and the Ontario Water Quality Committee to name a few. He used his positions to help find solutions that often allowed responsible pesticide use while also supporting policies and practices that reduced human and environmental risks.
Dr. Frank made an indelible contribution to Ontario agriculture that has allowed it to grow and prosper in an environmentally responsible manner.
The Ontario Agricultural Hall of Fame Board is proud to acknowledge Dr. Richard Frank’s contributions to Ontario agriculture as a 2023 inductee.