More than 1,500 farmers from across the state will gather in Cool Springs December 4-6 for the purpose of developing policy for 2017, electing leadership for the organization, presenting awards in membership categories, learning about the latest trends and issues in agriculture and fellowshipping with other farmers across the state.
American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall will be the featured speaker at the Memorial Service Sunday evening. This is a tribute to those leaders who passed away over the last year, and a special memento is given to those families.
American Farm Bureau Federation’s Mary Kay Thatcher, senior director of congressional relations, who has worked as a lobbyist for 28 years, will provide a keynote address. Thatcher will give an insight and an update on the farm bill to encourage members to make their voice be heard in the ongoing discussions crafting the new bill.
Also highlighting the conference will be the three chairs of the Governor’s Rural Challenge taskforce – Commissioner of Agriculture Jai Templeton, Commissioner of Economic and Community Development Randy Boyd and Commissioner of Tourist Development Kevin Triplett. These three will provide an update on the strategic plan to advance rural communities throughout the state.
The annual meeting also offers the chance to recognize individuals and counties for going above and beyond in membership categories like public relations, leadership, policy and service. Pinnacle awards are presented to those counties who reach the highest standards for membership, programs, and teamwork as evidenced by the cooperation between volunteer leaders, agents and staff. Five individuals will be presented with Tennessee Farm Bureau’s highest honor – the Distinguished Service Award – for their dedication to their community, leadership and Farm Bureau. From District One is Weakley County’s Larry Fowler, District Two is Wilson County’s Dan Smith, District Three is Grundy County’s George Clay, District Four is Trousdale County’s Mary Grace Gregory and District Five is Blount County’s John Keller…Awards will also be presented in young farmer contests for Outstanding Young Woman and Discussion Meet.
During the three-day meeting, one of the most vital parts is the day and a half when voting delegates will discuss and potentially adopt new policies to guide the Tennessee Farm Bureau for the next year and elect leaders to the board of directors.