Tennessee to Check for Livestock Traceability Compliance Starting Jan. 1

Click the image to view larger.

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture will conduct routine compliance checks beginning Jan. 1, 2015 for the federal Animal Disease Traceability rule. The rule went into effect last year and requires the identification of livestock being transported across state lines.

“The federal rule is an effective way to trace the movement of livestock in an animal disease event so that appropriate action can be taken to limit the impact on producers,” state veterinarian Charles Hatcher said. “The rule only applies to livestock being moved interstate, but it’s important that Tennessee farmers work with their local veterinarian to obtain proper documentation.”

The ADT rule requires all livestock, including cattle, equine, sheep and goats, swine and poultry, being moved interstate to be officially identified, unless specifically exempted. Livestock must be accompanied by an interstate certificate of veterinary inspection or other documentation, such as owner-shipper statements or brand certificates.

Brands, tattoos and brand registration can also be used as official identification when accepted by the shipping and receiving states. Backtags are accepted as an alternative to official eartags for cattle moved directly to slaughter.

Animal health documentation is still required by the state under certain circumstances for livestock being moved within Tennessee. Additionally, some states have documentation requirements that go beyond the federal rule. Producers should consult with their veterinarians to make sure that any livestock that is transported complies with all regulations.
TDA is working to implement a user-friendly online system already adopted by 20 other states that will allow private veterinarians to submit and access documents electronically in order to help with compliance. Veterinarians interested in participating should contact the State Veterinarian’s office at 615-837-5120 or

For more information, visit USDA’s website at or for details about Tennessee’s animal health programs.  

96th Annual American Farm Bureau Convention

Click the image to view larger.
The American Farm Bureau Federation works all year to create an Annual Convention that will be educational, inspirational and memorable, and our 96th gathering will check all of the boxes! I look forward to welcoming Farm Bureau members from across the country to San Diego in January 2015.

The theme of AFBF’s 96th Annual Convention is Tradition, Perseverance and Vision. Our convention reflects Farm Bureau’s grassroots Tradition, as Farm Bureau leaders gather to consider policies developed by farmers and ranchers at the local and state levels, and set a national course. 

This tradition has continued since our founding in 1919, and it is the source of our authenticity and strength. We will continue the American Farm Bureau’s Perseverance in being the Voice of Agriculture® that America’s farmers and ranchers need. 

We hope you will like the changes we are making, as they are a reflection of our ambitious Vision for Farm Bureau’s future. Launching in 2015: IDEAg@Annual Convention, with workshops on the latest agricultural innovations, business-to-business relationships, investments, farm succession planning and consumer relations. We will offer peer-to-peer discussions and opportunities to network with industry experts and leaders. You will even have the chance to go shopping on the trade show floor. It’s all part of the new, interactive AFBF trade show. There has never been a more exciting time to be in agriculture and to take part in agriculture’s premier event—the AFBF Annual Convention.

California, our host state, is an agricultural powerhouse. What a great place to get together and celebrate America’s agricultural diversity and productivity. We are thrilled to be visiting the Golden State. I hope to see you there!


Bob Stallman

U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance® Launches HOW-TO Video Series about Farming and Ranching

Click the image to view larger.

1,200 cows milked. 50,000 eggs gathered.  Clean barns for 7,000 pigs. One day’s work for America’s farmers! People can now learn how they do it through U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance’s® (USFRA®) new online “How To Farm” video series that launched today on USFRA’s website,

Hosted by blogger Kelly Snyder (, USFRA’s online video series illustrates different farming practices. The educational videos, which range between two to four minutes, highlight the daily activities of farmers and ranchers across the nation who grow and raise our food.  The first four videos give viewers an up-close look at just how farmers grow and raise food, including:  

How To Milk 1,200 Cows (filmed with Brian Rexing at New Generation Dairy in Indiana)

How To Care for 7,000 Pigs (filmed with Art Braundmeier at The Maschhoffs in Illinois)

How To Use Trash to Help Crops Grow (filmed on Len Corzine’s farm in Illinois)

How To Gather 50,000 Eggs A Day (filmed with Ron Campbell at Opal Foods in Missouri)

“People know what farmers generally do, but not exactly how they do it. The opportunity to spend time on a farm alongside a farmer is not one that most people get,” said Randy Krotz, CEO of USFRA.  “This new online video series brings the farm to your living room, office, kitchen, classroom, mobile device -- anywhere you are.  Americans have so many questions about food production and the first videos in this series can help address some of those by showing just how farmers are growing and raising food.”

The Redefined Mom, AKA Kelly Snyder, a blogger mom of two based in Kansas City, visited four Midwest farms to learn just how farmers and ranchers do what they do every day – and why. The videos also highlight new technology used on farms and ranches today, and address common misconceptions about food production. 


USFRA’s online video series is available on YouTube, and in the “Videos” section of USFRA’s website in the “How To Farm” section.

About U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA)
U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) consists of more than 80 farmer- and rancher-led organizations and agricultural partners representing virtually all aspects of agriculture, working to engage in dialogue with consumers who have questions about how today’s food is grown and raised. USFRA is committed to continuous improvement and supporting U.S. farmers and ranchers efforts to increase confidence and trust in today’s agriculture.

For more information contact: Joanna Schroeder at or 636-751-5725.

Washington County Farmer Aiken Re-elected VP of Nation’s Largest State Farm Bureau

Click the image to view larger.

During their 93rd annual convention held at Franklin’s Cool Springs Marriott, the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation’s delegates, representing agriculture and farmers across the state, not only debated policy proposals and passed resolutions to work on passage of legislation in 2015 at the state and federal levels, they also re-elected their vice president of the nation’s largest state Farm Bureau organization.

Washington county beef, dairy and tobacco farmer Jeff Aiken was elected today by the voting delegate body to serve as the organization’s vice president representing more than 655,000 family members in Tennessee. Aiken has served as a director-at-large on the state board of directors since 1998 when he was elected to that office by the Farm Bureau’s county leadership statewide.  He has headed up numerous committees at the state level, as well as being his county’s president for many years.  He has held the office of state YF&R chairman and was the 1992 Tennessee Young Farmer of the Year.

Aiken is a native of Washington County.  He and his wife Carol farm near Telford in upper East Tennessee where he produces corn, 100 acres of tobacco and more than 300 head of beef cattle.

Others re-elected to the board of directors by the voting delegates were: Charles Hancock from Bumpus Mills, Mrs. Catherine Via from Alamo, David Richesin from Lenoir City, Malcolm Burchfiel from Newbern, Eric Mayberry from Hurricane Mills, James Haskew from South Pittsburg, Dan Hancock from Smithville, David Mitchell from Blaine and Mrs. Jane May, State Women’s chairman from Newbern.

Also during the annual meeting, AJ Teal of Coffee County was selected as the new state Young Farmer and Rancher chairman.


For more information, contact Lee Maddox, Tennessee Farm Bureau Director of Communications – – 931-388-7872

2014 Tennessee Farm Bureau Convention

Click the image to view larger.

The 2014 Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation Convention will be held December 6-9 in Cool Springs, Tennessee. Farmers from across the state will gather to learn about issues affecting agriculture, new technologies, network with other farmers and agribusinesses and hold their yearly business session where they will discuss and vote on policy to direct the organization for the coming year.

View a program and agenda for the convention.

Tennessee FFA Member Selected as FFA's National Southern Region Vice President

Click the image to view larger.

Students from Georgia, Arkansas, Colorado, Tennessee, Kentucky and New Mexico have been elected by delegates from throughout the United States to serve on the 2014-15 National FFA Officer team.

  • Andy Paul of Georgia, an agricultural education major at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, was elected president.
  • Victoria Maloch of Arkansas, an agricultural business and pre-law major at University of Arkansas, will serve as secretary.
  • Kristen Schmidt of Colorado, an animal science and agricultural business major at Colorado State University, was elected central region vice president.
  • Stephen McBride of Tennessee, an agricultural business major at University of Tennessee at Martin, will serve as southern region vice president.
  • Ruth Ann Myers of Kentucky, an agricultural education major at University of Kentucky, was elected eastern region vice president.
  • Caleb Gustin of New Mexico, an agricultural business and agricultural economics major at New Mexico State University, will serve as western region vice president.

Each year at the National FFA Convention & Expo, six students are elected by delegates to represent the organization as National FFA officers. Delegates elect a president, secretary and vice presidents representing the central, southern, eastern and western regions of the country.

National officers commit to a year of service to the National FFA Organization. Each travels more than 100,000 national and international miles to interact with business and industry leaders, thousands of FFA members and teachers, corporate sponsors, government and education officials, state FFA leaders, the general public and more. The team will lead personal growth and leadership training conferences for FFA members throughout the country and help set policies that will guide the future of FFA and promote agricultural literacy.

The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to 610,240 student members in grades seven through 12 who belong to one of 7,665 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

TN Young Farmers of the Year Winners Receive Their Prize

Click the image to view larger.

Greene County young farm couple Mark and Cindy Klepper won Tennessee Farm Bureau’s Outstanding Young Farmer and Achievement Award at the Tennessee Young Farmer Summer Conference. The young row crop, cattle and poultry farmers from the Baileyton community, recently received their prize - the use of a brand new Case IH tractor up to 150 hours, courtesy of Case IH.

Mark and Cindy were named this year’s winners based upon farm and financial records from the farm year 2013. The Kleppers farm 1700 acres in Greene County. Their major crops are corn, soybeans and hay. They are contract growers for Koch Foods where they raise more than 920,000 broiler chickens a year. They also have a beef cattle operation where they raise nearly 100 cows.
Both Mark and Cindy have been very active in the Young Farmer and Rancher program, as well as the Greene County Farm Bureau and their community. Mark has served on the Board of Directors of the Greene County Farm Bureau since 2008 and was state chairman of the Tennessee YF&R in 2009. Both are very active in their church. The Kleppers have two children.

The Acheivement Award recognizes young farmers and ranchers who have excelled in their farming or ranching operations and exhibited superior leadership abilities. Participants are evaluated on a combination of their agricultural operation's growth and financial progress, Farm Bureau leadership and leadership outside of Farm Bureau.
The Klepper family receive a year’s free use of a brand new Case/IH tractor up to 150 hours. They also receive $500 from Tennessee Farm Bureau, a fully loaded RTV to keep from Tennessee Farm Bureau, an insurance policy to cover the tractor for one year from Farm Bureau Insurance of Tennessee and a trip to the American Farm Bureau Convention in San Diego, California in January 2015, where they will compete for national honors with other state winners. The national winner will get their choice of a 2015 Chevrolet Silverado or 2015 GMC Sierra, courtesy of GM and paid registration to the 2015 YF&R Leadership Conference in Nashville, Tennessee. Three national runners-up will receive a Case IH Farmall tractor, courtesy of Case IH, and a $2,500 cash prize and $500 in merchandise courtesy of STIHL.

Statement from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on 2014 U.S. Agricultural Exports Setting New Record

Click the image to view larger.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released its final total for U.S. agricultural exports in Fiscal Year 2014, which soared to a record $152.5 billion (up from last year's record of $141 billion).

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack made the following statement regarding the record-setting year:

"American farmers and ranchers have once again achieved another year of record exports Agricultural exports have climbed 41 percent in value over the past five years. U.S. agricultural exports have increased in volume as well as in monetary value, which demonstrates an increasing global appetite for high-quality, American-grown products.

"The Administration's Made in Rural America initiative, led by USDA, remains committed to strengthening rural communities, and will continue to focus on investments in rural businesses, manufacturing, energy, water and other infrastructure development. Collectively, these efforts help to expand export opportunities for what is grown and made in rural America, create jobs, and foster growth that strengthens our nation's economy."

Yes on 2

Click the image to view larger.

What Is Vote YES on 2?


  • Vote YES on 2 is the campaign to pass the Judicial Selection Amendment to our state constitution. The Judicial Selection Amendment is the second of four proposed amendments on the statewide ballot this November and is commonly referred to as Amendment 2.
  • Passing Amendment 2 strengthens the voice of Tennesseans in selecting our appellate court judges, so we get fair and impartial judges held accountable to the people of Tennessee.
  • Amendment 2 improves the way we select the judges who serve on our statewide appellate courts: the five Supreme Court justices, the twelve judges on the Court of Appeals, and the twelve judges on the Court of Criminal Appeals.
  • Amendment 2 does NOT change the selection process for trial court judges, who run in local elections.

How Does Amendment 2 Strengthen the Voice of Tennessee Voters?

More than two-thirds of our elected representatives in the Tennessee General Assembly voted in two consecutive legislative sessions to add Amendment 2 to the statewide ballot this fall. It will be 2 of four proposed amendments on the November 4, 2014, ballot–with early voting starting on October 15.

Here’s the text of Amendment 2 as it will appear on the statewide ballot. It is proposed that Article VI, Section 3 of the Constitution of Tennessee be amended by deleting the first and second sentences and by substituting instead the following:


Judges of the Supreme Court or any intermediate appellate court shall be appointed for a full term or to fill a vacancy by and at the discretion of the governor; shall be confirmed by the legislature; and thereafter, shall be elected in a retention election by the qualified voters of the state. Confirmation by default occurs if the Legislature fails to reject an appointee within sixty calendar days of either the date of appointment, if made during the annual legislative session, or the convening date of the next annual legislative session, if made out of session. The Legislature is authorized to prescribe such provisions as may be necessary to carry out Sections two and three of this article.”

Amendment 2 improves the way we select our judges who serve on our statewide appellate courts. Amendment 2 does NOT change the selection process for trial court judges, who run in local elections.

By passing Amendment 2, Tennesseans will gain three powerful votes in the selection of our appellate court judges:

  1. By voting for the Governor who will make the appointments;
  2. By voting for our State Senators and State Representatives who will confirm or reject the appointments;
  3. By voting to keep or fire the judges at the end of their respective terms.

By passing Amendment 2, the voice of the people will clearly be heard.

What is Yes on 2?

  • It protects the right of Tennesseans to vote to keep or fire the judges at the end of their respective terms.
  • It adds a new layer of accountability by having our elected representatives in the Legislature confirm or reject the Governor’s appointees.
  • It helps keep the influence of special interest money away from our judges and out of our state.
  • Judges are like referees. They need to be unbiased and apply the law fairly, not make rulings based on campaign contributions. We need the best judges, not the best politicians.

Visit to find out more information.

Tennessee Farm Bureau Hosts Agriculture U.S. Senate Forum

Click the image to view larger.
Cookeville, TN October 16, 2014 – The Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation hosted an agricultural forum for the two U.S. Senate nominees, Sen. Lamar Alexander and Democratic challenger Gordon Ball, at the Hyder-Burks Pavilion on the Tennessee Tech University campus.
Tennessee Farm Bureau volunteer leaders from across the state were in attendance as the candidates answered questions on issues concerning agriculture, the economy, labor and the environment.
“We are fortunate in Tennessee to have two candidates who are willing to share their thoughts on some of agriculture’s critical issues. Our farmers from across the state want to know their elected officials know and care about concerns affecting agriculture and we appreciate Senator Alexander and Mr. Ball’s willingness to serve as our voice in Washington, D.C.,” said Tennessee Farm Bureau President Lacy Upchurch.
This forum is the only time that both candidates will be addressing questions in the same location as well as speaking specifically to issues concerning agriculture and Tennessee.  Both Senator Alexander and Gordon Ball began with opening remarks and then took turns answering questions about farm labor, stimulating rural economies, federal regulatory overreach on farms and questions from the audience.
Senator Alexander spoke in his opening remarks about sharing the concerns of rural people in Tennessee, “Our country is in trouble and I am running for a third term because I believe I can make a difference. It doesn’t help rural families to have rules regulating mud puddles and keeping kids from wanting to return to the farm. We need a new direction for our country.”
Both candidates spoke eloquently about their ideas on immigration reform and the environment, with Gordon Ball stating, “I am for the environment, for the farmers and as a rural person who grew up on the Pigeon River I know what it is like to be poor. Education is key to keeping our young farmers on the farm.”
Tennessee Farm Bureau is the largest Farm Bureau in the nation with a membership more than 600,000, and is a voluntary farm membership organization whose goal is to develop, foster, promote and protect programs for the general welfare, including economic, social, educational and political well-being of farm people of the great state of Tennessee.

For more information, contact Lee Maddox, TN Farm Bureau Director of Communications - - 931-388-7872