Executive Director, Georgia Peanut Commission
Don has served as Executive Director of the Georgia Peanut Commission since 1986, making him the longest serving Executive Director since the Peanut Commission’s establishment in 1961. The State chartered Commission conducts programs in research, education, promotion, and advocacy for Georgia’s peanut farmers who produce about half of the US peanut crop. He serves on the management team of the Southern Peanut Growers, the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation, and on the Board of the Southeastern Peanut Farmer magazine. He serves as a member of the Computer Task Force for the American Peanut Sheller’s Association. He currently serves as a member of the Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee (ATAC) for Tobacco, Cotton, and Peanuts which advises USDA and the U.S. Trade Representative on trade policy issues.
His most recent efforts other than the day to day operations and programs of the Peanut Commission have been directed to the successful passage of a new five-year farm bill which will provide a safety net for farmers and economic benefits to the rural South Georgia economy. More recently he has worked with his team to secure funding for farmers impacted by the Hurricane Michael disaster, helped secure funding for trade mitigation activities, and has served on a task force in the state of Georgia to develop a plan for using block grant funds for disaster relief.
In 2010, he oversaw the effort of the Peanut Commission to construct a new office and educational center which is state of the art. The building generates electricity and heats water with the power of the sun. It uses geothermal energy to assist in managing the internal climate. The building has a small environmental foot print. Items as small as recycling waste are attended to in detail to manage cost.
He is a 1979 graduate of Auburn University where he received his B.S. in Animal Science. He has previously served as an assistant county agent with the Alabama Cooperative Extension Service and as a regional manager of the American Soybean Association.
He was raised on a small livestock and row crop farm in southwestern Alabama.
Don and his wife of thirty years, Cheryl, reside in Tifton, Georgia where they are members of First Baptist Church. He teaches Sunday school. They have two sons, one of whom is deceased, two daughters-in-law, three grandsons, and a granddaughter.