Julius Thomas Johnson was appointed by Governor Bill Haslam and sworn in as Tennessee's 36th Commissioner of Agriculture in January 2011. (To meet the Senior Staff, click here.)
Prior to his appointment, Johnson served as Chief Administrative Officer of the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation, a leading farm and rural advocacy organization with the largest membership in the nation. During his 37 years of professional service to the TFBF, he directed the organization's legislative affairs, served as director of research and served as a regional field service director.
He has extensive experience in working with government leaders and agencies at local, state and federal levels. He has served on the Legislative Tax Structure Study Committee, the Governor's Council on Agriculture and Forestry, the Governor's Interagency Task Force on Wetlands and other agricultural committees primarily related to issues affecting rural Tennessee.
As commissioner he directs the work of more than 800 full- and part-time employees with responsibilities ranging from farm and agribusiness development, food safety and pesticide regulation to animal and plant health protection and forest and water resources management.
In a civic role, Johnson has served on the University of Tennessee Agriculture Development Board, the Maury County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, the Maury County United Way Board of Directors, the Maury County Vision 2020 Board of Directors and as president of the Maury County University of Tennessee Alumni Board. He was a Kiwanian and is an active supporter of Boy Scouts as president-elect of the Middle Tennessee Council.
He has been recognized by the Tennessee Association of Future Farmers of America with the Honorary State FFA Degree and by the University of Tennessee Gamma Sigma Delta Honorary Society with the Distinguished Achievement in Agriculture Award. He is an honorary brother of the Alpha Kappa Chapter of the Alpha Gamma Rho agricultural fraternity.
A native of Forbus, Tenn. in Fentress County, Johnson received his bachelor's degree in Animal Science from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and has completed post graduate work. He and his wife, Karen, have a son, Matthew, who lives in Baton Rouge, La. and daughter, Mary Ella Lettiere, who lives in Knoxville with her husband, Sam. The Johnsons reside in Columbia, Tenn. where they are members of the Columbia First United Methodist Church.