Tennessee lawmakers celebrated Ag Day on the Hill March 25 at Legislative Plaza in Nashville. Gov. Bill Haslam proclaimed it “Agriculture Day” in Tennessee as part of the annual national observance to recognize the important contributions of farmers and forestland owners to the state and nation.
Ag Day on the Hill activities included the popular milking contest between Senate and House members, a cattle-weighing contest, farm animals, crops and equipment, and new this year, a silent auction to benefit Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee and Tennessee’s Ag in the Classroom educational program.
The event also featured for the first time the Drive to Feed the World Tour, a unique, interactive road show traveling the nation to heighten awareness about world hunger and sustainable food production.
Festivities kicked off at 8 a.m., with the milking contest taking place at 9 a.m. Special presentations to the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee were presented at 10:30 a.m. The winner of the cattle-weighing contest, announced during the committee meeting, received a Pick Tennessee Products gift basket.
Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee also had collection bins available at Legislative Plaza throughout the day. Participants and visitors donated nonperishable items for donation. The Farm and Forest Families of Tennessee organization also presented a check to Second Harvest in honor of the milking contest winner as part of the day’s festivities.
Tennessee has 76,000 farms representing 10.8 million acres in production. More than half of the state, 14 million acres, is in mostly privately owned hardwood forests. Tennessee’s top agricultural commodities include cattle, soybeans, corn, poultry, cotton, timber, greenhouse and nursery products, dairy products, wheat, tobacco and hay. The industry has a $66 billion a year impact on the state’s economy and supports nearly 337,900 jobs.