Oliver named state Ag commissioner
Posted: Tuesday, August 17, 2010 9:17 pm
Terry Oliver of Gleason took over as commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Agriculture on Monday. He previously served as deputy commissioner.
Gov. Phil Bredesen lauded Oliver when he made the announcement Friday.
“I have personally known Terry and have sought his advice and counsel through the years on agricultural issues,” the governor said. “Always dependable and a man of his word, Terry made a great team with former commissioner Ken Givens in leading our efforts to address the needs and opportunities of farmers and rural communities.
“He is the right person to assume leadership of the Department of Agriculture at this time, and I’m very pleased to announce his appointment.”
The Tennessee Depart-ment of Agriculture provides a variety of consumer protection services, promotes farm products and encourages the sustainable management of forest and farmland resources. Farming and forestry not only preserve a time-honored way of life, but they also fuel the state’s economy. Agricultural production generates more than $3.1 billion annually in farm cash receipts and another $329 million generated by timber sales.
“I very much appreciate the opportunity to serve Governor Bredesen and the state of Tennessee as commissioner,” said Oliver, a sixth-generation farmer. “The Department of Agriculture touches the lives of Tennesseans every day through the food we eat, the fuel we pump, the clothes we wear, the wood products we use and the land we enjoy. It will be an honor for me to serve Tennesseans in this new role.”
A West Tennessee farmer and businessman, he has nearly 20 years of public service and experience in state government and has served four commissioners of Agriculture as deputy commissioner. He returned to state government in February 2003, having served previously in the same capacity from 1987 to 1995.
Oliver has led efforts to improve the effectiveness of the Division of Forestry and also played a significant role in the development and implementation of the Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program, a cost share program established by Bredesen to spur farm innovation and agricultural development in Tennessee.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Tennessee at Martin. He is a member of the advisory council for the Governor’s School of Agriculture Sciences at UT Martin — one of only three enrichment programs in the nation for high school agriculture students. He is also a former member of the USDA Farm Services Agency state committee.
He also serves on the First State Bank board of directors and its holding company, Community First Bancshares Inc.
Oliver and his wife Marsha reside on their family farm in Gleason and have two daughters and three grandchildren.
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• Recognized the 19 years of service of outgoing Obion County Assessor of Property Kathy Robertson. Obion County Mayor Benny McGuire presented her a plaque of appreciation. She began her service in January 1991. Her successor, Judy Smith, will take office Sept. 1.
• Recognized the many years of service of several outgoing county commissioners — Steve Goodrich of District 7, 28 years; Jimmy Seals of District 5, 20 years; Trena Taylor of District 7, 20 years; Steve Rice of District 7, 20 years; Perry Barfield, District 6, four years; and William “R.K.” Kane, District 1, four years.
McGuire presented a plaque of appreciation to each of them. Several expressed their thanks for the honor and privilege of serving.
In his going-away statement, Kane said, “It has been my honor to serve the people of Obion County representing District 1. It has also been my honor and pleasure to work alongside this body of commissioners these past four years conducting the people’s business. …
“I leave you with a quote from Thomas Jefferson: ‘I have the consolation of having added nothing to my private fortune during my public service and of retiring with hands as clean as they are empty.’”
Earlier today, the Obion County Election Commission certified the results of the Aug. 5 election. Those elected as county commissioners will take office on Sept. 1. They include Andy Crocker, District 1; Ned Bigelow, District 6; Jim Bondurant, District 7; Sam Sinclair Jr., District 7; and Cloney Taylor, District 7.
Published in The Messenger 8.17.10