Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries
Commissioner John McMillan comes to the Department of Agriculture & Industries with a legacy of perseverance and purpose. For six generations, his family has worked the land and enjoyed the natural resources of Alabama.
His longstanding commitment to public service, preserving the environment, and economic development make him a natural fit for the challenges he will embrace as the department’s new commissioner for the next four years.
McMillan grew up in Baldwin County in the same house in Stockton where his 97 year-old mother, Madie, still lives surrounded by family. After attending Stockton School and Baldwin County High School, McMillan attended Rhodes College where he earned a BA in economics. He met his wife Kathryn in high school and they celebrated their 44th wedding anniversary this past July.
His interest in agriculture began at a young age while working on his uncle’s farm and in his father’s sawmill. After college, he continued to work at the family sawmill for nearly 20 years. Over the years, McMillan’s life’s work continued to focus on agri-business, forest products, wildlife protection, natural resource management and the protection of private property rights.
His first venture into public service was in 1969 when Governor Albert Brewer appointed him to a vacancy on the Baldwin County Commission. He fell in love with public service and decided to run for State Representative in 1974. After being elected that year and re-elected in1978, he was able to serve on the State Administration Committee and chaired the Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Committee. While in the legislature, McMillan was twice chosen as the “Conservation Legislator of the Year.”
Governor Fob James appointed McMillan as Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Some of his accomplishments include being able to play a major role in rebuilding Gulf State Park after Hurricane Frederick, passing legislation to protect Alabama’s wildlife and fisheries resources, and being responsible for the $449 million dollar offshore oil and gas leases which led to the establishment of the Alabama Trust Fund.
In 1983, McMillan was given the opportunity to work for the Alabama Forestry Association and in 1986 was selected to direct the association as its Executive Vice President for the next 20 years. There, he became known as a protector of landowners’ property rights and a champion against property tax increases.
During his career McMillan has stayed active in community improvement and development at local, state and national levels. He has had the opportunity to chair the Alabama Forestry Council, the Alabama Forestry Planning Committee, the Alabama Council of Association Executives and the Alabama Civil Justice Reform Committee. He was also a member of National Federation of Independent Business, Alabama Farmers Federation, Business Council of Alabama, North Baldwin Chamber of Commerce, Society of American Foresters, Alabama Wildlife Federation, Ducks Unlimited, National Wild Turkey Federation, Montgomery Rotary Club, the American Society of Association Executives, and the Auburn University President’s Commission on Agriculture. Governor Bob Riley appointed McMillan to serve two terms on the State Personnel Board.
McMillan has also served as Chairman of the North Baldwin United Way and President of the Bay Minette Area Chamber of Commerce and the Bay Minette Kiwanis Club.
Besides an enthusiasm for community and public service, McMillan loves all types of hunting, fishing and enjoying nature.
He and Kathryn have two sons, Murphy and William, and a daughter-in-law Beth. Murphy and Beth are the parents of their two grandchildren, El, 11 and John, 6.