FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, September 15, 2016
Office of Communications
Commissioner Gary W. Black and Georgia Grown Receive Awards for Tourism
Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary W. Black was honored with the Bill Hardman Sr. Tourism Champion in Government award at the Georgia Governor’s Tourism Conference for 2016. Commissioner Black was recognized for his dedication to tourism with an emphasis on agriculture. In addition, members of the Georgia Grown team were recognized for their commitment to agritourism by receiving The Bill Hardman Sr. Tourism Champion Partnership Award and the Georgia Grown Trail 41 received The Bill Hardman Sr. Tourism Champion Product Development award for the promotion and preservation in a 12-county corridor along U.S. Highway 41.
“I am extremely proud of the Georgia Grown team for recognizing the potential of what is still an emerging market,” Commissioner Black said. “Agritourism is not only an opportunity for consumers to learn and take part of the agricultural experience, but also a great window of opportunity for our farmers to grow their businesses, which in turn can further enhance our economy.”
Agriculture is Georgia’s largest industry contributing more than 411,500 jobs and $72 billion in economic impact. Tourism is the state’s second largest industry contributing a record $58.9 billion economic impact in the last year.
“On behalf of the Georgia Grown team, I would like to thank Governor Deal for recognizing the incredible impact Georgia Grown has had throughout the state,” said Matthew Kullinski, Georgia Grown Program Manager. “We are so proud of our members and their dedication to quality agritourism destinations.”
Enhancing Georgia’s agritourism locations has been one of Commissioner Black’s top initiatives since taking office in 2010. Agritourism interest continues to grow in collaboration with the public’s interest on knowing where their food comes from. The University of Georgia estimates the economic impact for agritourism at $142 million.
About the GDA The Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) is the voice of the state’s agriculture community. The department's mission is to provide excellence in services and regulatory functions, to protect and promote agriculture and consumer interests, and to ensure an abundance of safe food and fiber for Georgia, America, and the world by using state-of-the-art technology and a professional workforce. For more information, visit www.agr.georgia.gov.