Orne Joins Tennessee Department of Agriculture


Tennessee Department of Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson today announced the appointment of former Nashville broadcast journalist Heather Orne as assistant director of public affairs.

“We’re fortunate to have someone of Heather’s experience and training in communications and journalism to join our staff,” Johnson said. “She will play an important role in helping to direct and expand our communication efforts with the media, stakeholder groups and the general public.”

Orne replaces Casey Mahoney, who recently accepted a position with Tennessee State Courts. Orne joins longtime department spokesman and public affairs director Tom Womack, and will be responsible for coordinating media relations, social media and internal and external communications. Her appointment was effective March 1.

A former morning news anchor and health reporter for WKRN in Nashville, Orne has also worked as a reporter and associate producer for WZTV in Nashville and WAFF in Huntsville, Ala. She’s also a former reporter for WSM radio in Nashville. More recently, she has provided public relations consulting services, managing social media and marketing for a local client in the healthcare industry.

“I am very excited to join the Tennessee Department of Agriculture. Whether it’s ensuring the safety of our food, testing fuel pumps, or working to create rural jobs, this agency plays a role in the lives of all Tennesseans on a daily basis. I am honored to be a part of this department,” Orne said.  

A native of Campbellsville, Ky., Orne has a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Kentucky and has done post-graduate studies in broadcast journalism at MTSU.

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture provides a variety of services to protect public health and safety and to enhance farms, forests and rural communities. More information about TDA can be found atwww.tn.gov/agriculture.