When the pandemic kept members of the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation from their annual trip to Nashville to talk with legislators about farm issues, the legislators came to them. Sen. Ferrell Haile and Rep. William Lamberth met with the members of the Sumner County Farm Bureau at their February monthly meeting.
According to Farm Bureau member Jim Donoho, there are 1,600 bills filed in the Tennessee General Assembly related to farming.
Several counties and volunteer leaders across the state had conference calls or zoom meetings with lawmakers last week to discuss issues important to agriculture and rural Tennessee.
The Sumner County bureau was fortunate to be able to meet locally with lawmakers. Members around the state were also able to share the importance of the organization for 100 years of service.
Haile said, “It is always good to visit with the Farm Bureau. I always enjoy the meetings. I’ve been a member since 1970 or 1971, when I came back from pharmacy school and started helping my dad on the farm. When I’m at a meeting, it feels like I with my people.”
One of the bills discussed at the Sumner County meeting was sponsored by Haile and Rep. Clark Boyd regarding moving the Tennessee State Fair to the Wilson County Fairgrounds. The governor’s budget would set aside $5 million to assist with this transition, if approved.
A lemon law bill has been introduced by Senator Frank Niceley and Rep. Sabi ‘Doc’ Kumar pertaining to farm equipment and machinery to conforming to the express warranties offered by the manufacturer. This legislation is needed to protect farmers in Tennessee.
Several other proposed budget items include:
• $200 million for broadband
• $95 million for the Jobs4TN
• $85 million to the Department of Transportation for short-line rail grant
• $21.1 million in grants and services to assist rural communities and distressed counties
• $5.5 million for Tennessee Ag Enhancement Program
• $2.3 million in tourist development
• $242,000 for new One Health Initiative, an effort to track and understand the links between zoonotic disease, human disease and the environment
The local meeting recognized Portland High School (PHS) agriculture teacher Brad Kirkham as Sumner County’s Teacher of the Year sponsored by Agriculture in the Classroom. PHS FFA president Kolby Ward was recognized as the meeting corresponded with National FFA Week. Lambeth presented a framed copy for the county office of a resolution recognizing the 100th Year of Tennessee Farm Bureau.
Lamberth said, “I was honored to join Sen. Ferrell Haile in presenting a resolution to the Sumner County Farm Bureau in celebration of Tennessee Farm Bureau’s 100 years of service and dedication to agriculture in our state. It is a tremendous accomplishment to reach this milestone and we thank them for their representation of rural communities and Tennessee farmers who are the backbone of our state’s economy.