Washington County farmer Jeff Aiken, 52, has been elected president of the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation, succeeding Lacy Upchurch of Cumberland County, who had announced his retirement earlier.
From a news release (full version HERE):
Aiken has served as vice-president since 2012, and 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 and his wife Carol farm 900 acres near Telford in upper East Tennessee where he produces corn, hay, straw, 100 acres of tobacco and more than 600 head of beef cattle.
Elected as the new vice president was Humphreys County farmer Eric Mayberry. Mayberry, 50, and his wife Lynn farm 1000 acres of row crops and a nearly 300 head commercial cow/calf operation near Hurricane Mills. Mayberry was first elected to the state board of directors representing District II in 2005. He has also served on his county’s board of directors since 1988, including five years as president.
OLIVER SPRINGS, Tenn. (AP) — A huge Norwegian spruce that was once part of a study on the needle shed of Christmas trees will grace the Tennessee state capitol this holiday season.
The Knoxville News Sentinel reports (http://bit.ly/1uF1Y80) a crew of eight men on Thursday cut the top off the 75-foot-tall giant growing in the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture’s Morgan County research forest.
State officials visited the Cumberland Forest last week and looked at several trees before selecting the spruce as this year’s state capitol Christmas tree. Forest manager Martin Schubert told the paper this tree made the cut because of its symmetry.
This marks the second time that UT has donated a tree for the capitol.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — With a decades-long ban on hemp production in Tennessee finally lifted, some farmers say they want to grow the crop but aren’t used to the government oversight that comes with it.
WPLN-FM reports (http://bit.ly/1vn9ckl) the state Agriculture Department held a hearing on Tuesday about proposed rules it hopes to finalize before spring planting. They include a requirement to let inspectors enter hemp fields at any time to check the levels of THC, the only real difference between hemp and its cousin, marijuana. The farmer would have to pay the $35-an-hour bill for the inspection.
Famer Linda Albright of Williamson County said she has been growing other crops for years and never had to apply for a license.
But Harold Jarboe of Maury County said the rules are understandable.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — An undercover video that showed California cows struggling to stand as they were prodded to slaughter by forklifts led to the largest meat recall in U.S. history. In Vermont, a video of veal calves skinned alive and tossed like sacks of potatoes ended with the plant’s closure and criminal convictions.
Now in a pushback led by the meat and poultry industries, state legislators across the country are introducing laws making it harder for animal welfare advocates to investigate cruelty and food safety cases.
Some bills make it illegal to take photographs at a farming operation. Others make it a crime for someone such as an animal welfare advocate to lie on an application to get a job at a plant.
Bills pending in California, Nebraska and Tennessee require that anyone collecting evidence of abuse turn it over to law enforcement within 24 to 48 hours — which advocates say does not allow enough time to document illegal activity under federal humane handling and food safety laws.
(Note: In Tennessee, the reference is to HB1191, sponsored by Rep. Andy Holt, R-Dresden, and Sen. Dolores Gresham, R-Somerville. Holt has it on notice for Wednesday in the House Agriculture Subcommittee, according to the legislative website.)