Georgia Farm Bureau mourns the loss of Sen. Johnny Isakson
Long-time U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, a staunch advocate for Georgia agriculture throughout his 43-year legislative career, died on Dec. 19. He was 76.
Isakson, who received the 2020 Georgia Farm Bureau Commodity Award, was a nine-time recipient of the Friend of Farm Bureau Award given by the American Farm Bureau Federation to members of Congress who vote in agreement with Farm Bureau on bills affecting agriculture.
“We at Georgia Farm Bureau are deeply saddened by the death of Senator Johnny Isakson, who was a true gentleman and statesman. Our sympathies go out to his family and friends as they mourn his passing and celebrate his extraordinary life,” GFB President Tom McCall said. “Georgia Farm Bureau enjoyed a very cordial relationship with Johnny, who was a consistent champion for agriculture in Georgia. Throughout his time in the Georgia General Assembly, U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, he was willing to listen whenever our farmers called. The state and nation will certainly miss him.”
A veteran of the Georgia Air National Guard and real estate broker, Isakson served in the Georgia House, Georgia Senate, U.S. House and U.S. Senate during a political career that dated from 1976 to December 2019, when he retired from the U.S. Senate due to his health. Isakson was elected to three consecutive terms in the U.S. Senate.
During his time in the Senate, due to the importance of poultry to Georgia’s economy, Isakson co-chaired the Senate Chicken Caucus with Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware. Isakson also served on the Subcommittee on International Trade, Customs and Global Competitiveness. His work in the caucus and on the trade subcommittee created export opportunities for Georgia poultry products around the world, particularly China and Africa. Isakson chaired both the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs and the Select Committee on Ethics.
Isakson learned about farming and gained an appreciation for agriculture as a youth, when he worked summers on his grandparents’ farm in Ben Hill County.
Isakson graduated from the University of Georgia in 1966 and served in the Georgia Air National Guard from 1966 to 1972. He opened the first Cobb County office of Northside Realty and later worked as company president. Isakson is survived by his wife, Dianne, three children and nine grandchildren.