James D. Price was born to James A. and Martha Wright Price on July 14, 1860 near Farmington in Oconee County. After attending the University of Georgia, Price married Miss Leila M. Wilson of Watkinsville and returned to Farmington where he would live for the rest of his life. James D. Price's career in public service began in 1888 as postmaster of the newly-created Farmington Post Office. He would later represent Oconee County in the Georgia General Assembly as a representative (1907-08) and senator (1909-10). In 1912, Price sought the Democratic Party's nomination for Commissioner of Agriculture where he defeated future-commissioner J.J. Brown after the second ballot at the party's nominating convention.
During Commissioner Price's two terms in office, Georgia-along with most of the Southern United States-witnessed the beginning of the boll weevil infestation that devastated cotton yields across the country. In order to minimize the negative impact of the boll weevil, Price encouraged farmers to diversify their crop production and created a market bureau within the Department of Agriculture that would assist growers in finding markets for their new produce.
After failing to win reelection in 1916, Price continued his work in agriculture as the Director of the Georgia Agricultural Experiment Station from 1917-18. He then won election to the Georgia Railroad and Public Service Commission where he continued to represent the interests of farmers and rural communities for the rest of his career.
On September 25, 1925, James D. Price died of a heart attack while staying in Athens, GA.