The purpose of the UT Commission on Agriculture is to leverage the UT System’s collective strengths to support the state’s agriculture industry and its communities; identify ways the University and its partners can collaborate to provide research, education, and outreach to contribute to the future success of the rapidly changing agricultural economy; and serve as advocates for agriculture across the state.

The Commission will:

  • Identify critical needs, challenges and opportunities in Tennessee agriculture and agricultural communities, and identify how to best strengthen the industry for growth and profitability;
  • Identify industry workforce and resource needs;
  • Receive periodic updates on the breadth and range of research and education programs, especially impacts and outcomes related to agriculture and natural resources, rural communities, and the environment;
  • Serve as a voice on key issues facing the agricultural community; and,
  • Serve as an advocate in working with government, business, and industry organizations and other state and national organizations to advance the state’s agricultural industry and communities.

Commission members are requested to:

  • Attend and actively participate in two Commission meetings per year.
  • Represent agriculture interests in the state, bringing issues to the Commission and sharing needs and impacts.
  • Identify potential needs, as well as opportunities, for the advancement of Tennessee’s agriculture industry, especially in distressed rural communities.
  • Advocate industry needs and opportunities with elected officials and other state and federal government decision-makers.



Meetings will be open to the public and interested stakeholders are encouraged to attend. The Commission will meet once in the summer/fall and once in the winter/spring.

August 8, 2023

Lone Oaks Farm (Agenda forthcoming)


Previous Meetings




The membership of the Commission shall consist of the following:

    • Randy Boyd, president of UT System
    • Keith Carver, senior vice president/senior vice chancellor of the UT Institute of Agriculture
    • Donde Plowman, chancellor of UT Knoxville
    • Phillip Cavalier, interim chancellor of UT Martin
    • Eric Mayberry, president of the Tennessee Farm Bureau
    • Charlie Hatcher, Tennessee Commissioner of Agriculture
    • Rep. Chris Todd, chair of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, Tennessee House of Representatives
    • Sen. Steve Southerland, chair of the Energy, Agriculture, and Natural Resources Committee, Tennessee Senate
    • Leaders from four rotating agricultural associations and organizations:
      • Stefan Maupin, executive director, Tennessee Soybean Promotion Council
      • Reggie Marshall, president, Tennessee Fruit and Vegetable Association
      • Jim Bledsoe, member, Tennessee Poultry Association
      • Phyllis Ferguson, president, Tennessee Pork Producers


    • Chairs of the UT Institute of Agriculture’s three Regional Advisory Councils:
      • Dr. Charles Goan, chair, Eastern Region Advisory Council
      • Joe Huffine, chair, Middle Region Advisory Council
      • John Charles Wilson, chair, Western Region Advisory Council


    • One at-large appointment:
      • Carol Reed, TN Corn


Association/organization representatives will serve staggered three-year terms, with initial terms being two and three years in duration. For all subsequent appointments, members will be appointed to serve three-year terms.

The Commission’s at-large member will serve a one-year term.