Ga Dept of Agriculture

 

Meet the Commissioner & Staff

Commissioner Gary Ward Black Sr.

Gary Ward Black Sr.
Commissioner of Agriculture

For over 38 years Gary W. Black has championed sound state and federal policies impacting food safety, science-based environmental stewardship and agricultural marketing. Now beginning his third term, Commissioner Black remains committed to fostering growth in Georgia's number one industry.   More>>

Dr. James Sutton

Dr. James Sutton
Director of Operations
Dr. James Sutton was born and raised in Griffin, Georgia. He is a graduate of the University of Georgia with both Bachelor of Science and Master of Science Degrees in Agronomy. In 1988, he earned his Doctor of Philosophy in Agronomy from Auburn University.  More>>

Gary Kelley

Gary Kelley
Inspector General

On July 16, 2015, Gary Kelley was appointed as Inspector General for the Georgia Department of Agriculture. Gary’s areas of responsibility are Emergency Management, Homeland Security, Human Resources and internal investigations. More>>

Ashley Sellers

Ashley Sellers
Director of Legal Services

Ashley Sellers grew up on a small family farm in east Tennessee. After graduating magna cum laude from the University of Tennessee, Ashley went on to attend Mercer University's Walter F. George School of Law in Macon, Georgia. While at Mercer, she was a Research Assistant and member of Mercer's distinguished Law Review. Ashley also received multiple awards during her law school career, including the Faculty Award for Outstanding Achievement in Legal Writing...  More>>

Julie McPeake

Julie McPeake
Chief Communication Officer

Julie McPeake came to the Georgia Department of Agriculture to serve as the Chief Communication Officer in July of 2014. Julie acts as the official agency spokesperson of the Georgia Department of Agriculture and facilitates all media inquiries for the department. More>>

Jimmy Wilson

Jimmy Wilson, CPA
Director of Finance

Jimmy Wilson is a native Georgian and a graduate of Georgia State University. As Director of Finance for Georgia Department of Agriculture, he leads the fiscal operations of the agency which includes Accounting, Budgets, and Grants. Jimmy served his country as a member of the United States Air Force and is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). More>>

Adam Buuck

Adam Buuck
Director of Animal Industry
Adam was named the Animal Industry Division Director for the Georgia Department of Agriculture on January 16, 2018. As such, he oversees the Department’s Animal Health, Livestock and Poultry, Companion Animal and Equine, and Meat Inspection Programs.  More>>

Natalie Adan

Natalie Adan
Division Director of Food Safety
Natalie Adan is originally from Atlanta, GA and graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology from Georgia Southern University.  More>>

Dr. John Shugart

Dr. John Shugart
Director of Laboratory Division
Dr. Shugart is a native of Whitfield County Georgia and spent much of his childhood on the family cattle farm in Cohutta, Georgia. Dr. Shugart was so comfortable in a cattle pasture and hayfield that he attended college in a similar setting obtaining a B.S. in chemistry from Berry College. Upon graduation from Berry College he attended Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. At Emory he completed both his Masters and Doctorate in chemistry.  More>>

Jack Spruill
Division Director of Marketing
Jack is a native of Georgia and was active in Future Farmers of America during high school, serving as a state officer. He graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in Animal Science.  More>>

Dr. Robert Cobb

Dr. Robert Cobb
State Veterinarian
Recognizing the need for qualified and trained veterinary assistants, Dr. Cobb worked with the leadership at the Heart of Georgia Technical College in Dublin in 1995 to create a Veterinary Assistants program.   Students in the one-year certificate program also benefited from hands-on experience with Dr. Cobb at Dublin Animal Hospital.  More>>

Holly Chute
Executive Chef
As Executive Chef for the Georgia Departments of Agriculture and Economic Development, Holly is the most visible face of the Georgia Grown Program, which promotes locally grown and crafted products.  More>>