John McKinley Jones, animal scientist, the son of Christopher and Mary (McKinley) Jones, was born in Laramie, Wyoming, on May 26, 1886. He graduated from the University of Wyoming with a B.S. in mechanical engineering in 1907 and received a second B.S. in agriculture in 1911. In 1912 he graduated from the University of Missouri with a master's degree in animal breeding and immediately joined the New Hampshire agricultural experiment station as an animal husbandman. Jones was soon offered a position with the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station at Texas A&M (see AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATION SYSTEM) as an animal scientist with a specialty in sheep and goats.
His Texas career began on August 1, 1914, and lasted until he retired from his professorship of animal husbandry at Texas A&M University in 1956. In the intervening years he was chief of the Division of Range Animal Husbandry (1918 to 1947). He also participated in the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization mission to Ecuador in 1951–52. He was one of the founders of the Texas Agricultural Research Station at Sonora, the first range-livestock institution in the nation, and one of the founders of the Texas Sheep and Goat Raisers Association. He also began and managed the wool-scouring plant at Texas A&M, a plant that led to a higher quality mohair, and effectively promoted the Australian shearing system in Texas and the United Sates. He also worked in cooperative range mineral-deficiency studies, which helped to determine feeding values for many Texas feeds and to develop more efficient feeding methods.
Jones was director of the American Corriedale Sheep Breeders Association and the American Angora Goat Breeders Association. He was a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a superintendent Southwestern Exposition and Livestock Show in Fort Worth for many years, and an organizer of La Asociación de Criadores de Ovejas (Association of Sheep Breeders) of Ecuador. He wrote or coauthored 41 bulletins, 60 progress reports, and 289 articles. He married Elma Beatrice Taylor, a civic leader who organized the Bryan chapter of the American Cancer Society, on July 15, 1920. They had two children. Jones died on April 30, 1979, in College Station, Texas.