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Bobby Walker Award

In November 2019, the Georgia Milk Producers Board of Directors voted to rename the "Friend of the Dairy Industry Award" to the "Bobby Walker Award". This change was made in honor of Bobby Walker's notable career, recognizing him as one of the most influential people of the Georgia dairy industry. Each year, Georgia Milk Producers presents the award to a dairy professional, farmer and/or company that is driving Georgia’s dairy industry toward a brighter future through leadership, advocacy and service.

Award Recipients

2023 - Gary W. Black

2022 - Jack Spruill

2021 - Barry Dye and Steve Smith

2020 - Dave Clark

2019 - Lewis Harrison

2018 - Earnest Turk

2017 - Cheryl Hayn

2016 - Jim Cumming

2015 - Billy O. Smith

2014 - Bruce McAvoy

2013 - Sue Mosley

2012 - Peggy Gates

2011 - Bobby Walker

2010 - Dr. Bill Thomas

2009 - Henry Cabaniss

2008 - Linda Mayfield

2007- Zippy Duvall

2006 - Bob Earle

2005 - Wayne Dollar

2004 - Dr. Larry Guthrie

2003 - Dr. Joe West

Gary Black Honored with 2023 Bobby Walker Award

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Gary W. Black served as Georgia's 16th Commissioner of Agriculture from 2011-2023. Commissioner Black has served in various leadership positions during his 40-year career in Georgia agriculture extending from the Georgia Farm Bureau to the Georgia Agribusiness Council.


Under his leadership, Georgia Department of Agriculture divisions for information technology, animal health, homeland security and food safety have garnered national acclaim. A tireless marketing advocate, Commissioner Black has led innovation in domestic and international promotion through the renowned Georgia Grown branding program. School nutrition directors, first-time exporters, produce growers and recipe dreamers alike have found that the Georgia Grown collaborative approach is an unparalleled tool that helps Georgians start businesses and expand markets.


Black is a Leadership Georgia Pattillo Award recipient and the 2017 Georgia Trend Magazine Georgian of the Year. He and his wife Lydia raise commercial beef cattle on their family farm in Commerce, Georgia. They serve together in various ministries at Maysville Baptist Church.

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