Commissioner Gary W. Black is the sixteenth Georgian to hold the office of Commissioner of Agriculture since the department’s inception in 1874. Always involved in the agricultural community, Black began his leadership roles early in his high school years when he joined the Future Farmers of America, later becoming State President of the organization. In his career, Black served 21 years as President of the Georgia Agribusiness Council, a chamber-like organization representing all facets of Georgia’s food and fiber industry. Throughout the years, he has championed sound policies throughout Georgia ranging from private property rights to food safety, and from lower taxes to science-based environmental stewardship.
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. His wife Lydia is a retired family and consumer sciences educator and their two children, Ward and Caroline, both work in Georgia’s agricultural industry. The family is active at Maysville Baptist Church where Black serves in the music and adult Sunday school ministries.