Sevierville — After postponing the winter convention due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association held its annual meeting on July 30-31 in Sevierville, with an attendance of 1,100 people.
Cattle producers from across Tennessee and the surrounding states joined together at the edge of the Smoky Mountains to network, learn, and be inspired by a tremendous line-up of speakers. This year, the convention featured leading experts in air quality, cattle behavior, and economics. Headlining the presentations were Dr. Temple Grandin, world-renowned animal behavior specialist and autism advocate, as well as Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, and agriculture advocacy radio host, Trent Loos.
Others included Dr. Frank Mitloehner, an expert in sustainable livestock agriculture; Kevin Yon of Yon Family Farms which is one of the top cow-calf producers in South Carolina; Dr. Che Trejo, a veterinarian who discussed cattle health topics; Ethan Lane, the Vice President of Government Affairs at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association; Johnny Rogers, the Amazing Grazing Coordinator in North Carolina; and Rob Holland, joined by Megan Leffew, discussing how best to direct market beef.
“We had great speakers and a huge trade show including lots of large equipment on display,” said Charles Hord, TCA’s executive vice president. “It was great to get back together and we all enjoyed seeing everyone again.”
Convention attendees were able to visit with more than 80 vendors that came from ten states to promote their products and services like insurance, feed, equipment, genetics, health supplies, and more.
In addition to presentations and the trade show, several individuals were honored for their contribution to the state’s beef cattle industry during the past year. These included:
• Dr. Emmit Rawls Outstanding Stocker Producer Award: Jonathan Smelcer of Monroe County
• Dr. Clyde Lane Outstanding Cow-Calf Producer Award: Color Wheel Farm, Kim & Brad Black
• Dr. Jim Neel Outstanding Work in Beef Extension Educational Programs Award: David Qualls of Lincoln County
• Business Person of the Year: Ryan Proffitt, Eastern Bovine Territory Manager, TechMix
• John Bartee Distinguished Service Award: Jerri Lynn Sims of Humphreys County
• TCA Legislator of the Year: Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee
• Outstanding 4-H Beef Program: Dustyn Watson of Decatur County
The convention had breakout sessions for several other groups, as well, including meetings for small ruminant producers, equine health, continuing education courses for veterinarians, Tennessee CattleWomen’s Association, and the Tennessee Cattlemen’s Youth Association.
More than 30 youth from across the state attended and participated in presentations about livestock judging, showing cattle, being productive agriculture advocates and cooking great beef meals. They also had a public speaking contest, scavenger hunt, photography contest, and a Quiz Bowl. The team from Lincoln County placed first and the team from Bradley County placed second.
“We had a great turnout for the youth activities and it was refreshing to see so many new faces and young people excited about the cattle industry,” said Melinda Perkins, TCA’s Director of Youth Programs and Outreach.
On behalf of the staff and leadership of TCA, thanks to the many sponsors of this event, along with the exhibitors, speakers, and attendees.
TCA’s next annual convention will be held on January 28-29, 2022 in Murfreesboro.
TCA was founded in 1985 and has more than 7,000 members from across the state and the southeast. The organization works to provide the cattlemen of Tennessee with an organization through which they may function collectively to protect their interests and work toward the solution of cattle industry problems and to build the necessary goodwill that will bring both governmental esteem and recognition to the industry.