Commissioner Gary W. Black is the sixteenth Georgian to hold the office of Commissioner of Agriculture since the department’s inception in 1874. He began his career with the Georgia Farm Bureau leading the young farmer leadership development program. He served 21 years as president of the Georgia Agribusiness Council, a chamber-like organization representing all facets of Georgia’s food and fiber industry.
During his career, Black led the development of AgriTrust of Georgia, a renowned workers’ compensation insurance program for farmers and agricultural businesses. He has championed sound policies throughout Georgia ranging from private property rights to food safety, and from lower taxes to science-based environmental stewardship.
Commissioner Black is an active supporter of agricultural programs that expand opportunities for young people. He serves in advisory capacities for 4H and FFA. As a student, Black served as State FFA President in 1975-76.
Black earned a degree in Agricultural Education from the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences in 1980 and is a past president of the college’s alumni society. He would rather be referred to as Lydia’s husband and Ward and Caroline’s dad. Lydia teaches family and consumer science at Jackson County High School. Ward is a development coordinator for the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Caroline is an Agricultural Communications Masters student at Texas A&M University. The family is active at Maysville Baptist Church where Black serves in the music and adult Sunday school ministries.