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.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — An East Tennessee legislator is again trying to get approval for commercial deer farms after a similar effort failed last year.
Rep. Frank Nicely, R-Strawberry Plains, has accused opponents of his bill of spreading disinformation. However, the measure has raised alarm among hunting groups and wildlife conservation advocates, according to The Tennessean (http://tnne.ws/xT3W9v).
When Nicely crafted the bill (HB3164) this year, he steered it to the House Agriculture Committee, which he chairs. A similar measure last year received little support before the chamber’s Conservation and Environment subcommittee.
The Tennessee Wildlife Federation says deer farms open the state to the possibility of chronic wasting disease.
The committee heard testimony on the bill Tuesday and it was limited to the state veterinarian.
“Actually, bringing in 10 more deer would probably be no more a risk than bringing in 10 more head of cattle,” Niceley said, referring to infectious disease.
He then asked Charlie Hatcher, Tennessee Department of Agriculture veterinarian, “Would you agree — or could you almost agree with that?”
Hatcher replied that deer brought into the state would have to meet import requirements, including health documentation.
“Assuming that people follow the rules, the risk would be reduced,” Hatcher said.
Before the committee met, Nicely said the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and the TWF are behind public criticism of his bill and said elk and exotic deer have been brought into Tennessee that importing white-tailed deer would be no different.
Proponents say deer could be raised as livestock for meat, hides, antler velvet and urine– the latter processed to mask the human scent of hunters.
A hunting group has been critical of the proposal, saying it is an economic danger to the state.
Dick Davis with the Middle Tennessee chapter of the Quality Deer Management Association said the state’s economy gets more than $500 million yearly from deer hunting.
“This bill endangers that economic benefit for the creation of a relatively few jobs with no benefit to wildlife or conservation,” he wrote to lawmakers.
Mike Alder, who represents the North American Deer Farmers Association, said 23 states allow deer farming. Adler said no deer would be brought into Tennessee from states with cases of chronic wasting disease.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A state wildlife conservation group is opposing a bill that would allow commercial deer farming in Tennessee, saying that doing so could help spread chronic wasting disease.
A House subcommittee is set to discuss the bill on Tuesday. (Note: It’s HB1112, in House Conservation Sub.)
“You’ve got a pure pathway for bringing that disease into the state, and the result, if you bring it into the state, is devastating,” said Mike Butler, CEO of the Tennessee Wildlife Federation. The disease can spread rapidly and ultimately causes death once an animal is infected.
The bill would require state agriculture officials to license breeding operations to raise white-tail deer, primarily for hunting on private ranches, The Commercial Appeal reported.
More than 20 states allow the commercial raising of white-tailed deer. Mississippi lawmakers considered a similar proposal this year but put it off, the newspaper reported. Other managed herds are allowed in Tennessee, including elk.