Governor-elect Bill Haslam chooses Julius Johnson To Lead Department of Agriculture

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Governor-Elect Bill Haslam describes Johnson as "perfect fit" for Commissioner of Agriculture.

Columbia, TN (December 7, 2010) - During the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation’s 89th Annual Meeting Governor-Elect Bill Haslam announced Julius Johnson, chief administrative officer for the Federation, as the 36th Commissioner of Agriculture.

“Julius is a perfect fit for the Department of Agriculture,” Haslam said in his announcement. “He’s been around farming and the Tennessee Farm Bureau all of his life, and he understands the issues inside and out.

“If Tennessee is to become the number one location in the Southeast for jobs, its largest industry – agriculture – must play a part in that, and Julius knows where the advantages are in rural Tennessee,” Haslam added.

Johnson has been the chief administrative officer for the Tennessee Farm Bureau for the past 15 years and has been employed with the Tennessee Farm Bureau for 37 years serving first as an agent with the organization’s insurance company in Morgan County and later as a regional field service director in the east Tennessee area of the state for the Farm Bureau state organization.  He moved to the TFBF headquarters office in 1984, serving as director of public affairs and chief lobbyist before becoming the CAO of the nation’s largest state Farm Bureau.

“Julius Johnson has done a tremendous job for the past 38 plus years in all of his different capacities within the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation,” said Tennessee Farm Bureau President Lacy Upchurch. “We are so proud the governor-elect has selected him to serve the state of Tennessee as the Commissioner of Agriculture and look forward to working with him in that capacity.”

The state board of directors of the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation have selected Director of Commodity Activities Joe Pearson to replace Johnson as the chief administrative officer (CAO) and have also named Director of Public Affairs Rhedona Rose to the position of Executive Vice President.

 “Joe Pearson’s dedication to agriculture and rural life will continue to serve him well in his new role as CAO,” said President Upchurch. “He knows Farm Bureau and will help our organization continue to improve as we have for 89 years.”

Pearson began his career with the Farm Bureau nearly 34 years ago as an agent for the Hawkins County Farm Bureau Insurance Company before becoming a regional field service director and transitioned to his current role as Director of Commodity Activities in 1988.

Rhedona Rose has been with the organization for 24 years.  She has been the Director of Public Affairs since 1995 and is highly respected by both the state legislature and farmers across the state.  She will continue her duties as director while assuming additional duties in agricultural and public relations.