Category Archives: Tennessee

Tennessee Animal Cruelty Prevention Act Heating Up

Tennessee State Line
Tennessee State Line (Photo credit: J. Stephen Conn)

Updated: The bill was vetoed by Tenn. Governor Haslam on Monday, May 13. Story from the Tennessean here. Haslam’s statement can be seen in this piece from the Knoxville News Sentinel.

A follow-up to a previous post regarding the heated “Ag gag” bills/laws across the country.

The controversy over so-called ‘Ag gag’ bills has heated up in Tennessee during the past few weeks. Celebrities the likes of Carrie Underwood and Ellen Degeneres have been touting their status and rallying fans to urge TN Governor Haslam to veto HB1191/SB1248 that would protect Tennessee animals subject to cruelty. Carrie Underwood, I can understand, she actually lives in TN. But Ellen?

What does the Tennessee bill actually say?

Easy. It’s a one-page piece of legislation, passed by both Houses, with only one amendment, awaiting the Governor’s signature.

“SECTION 1. Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 39-14-202, is amended by adding the following language as a new, appropriately designated subsection:

( ) Any person who records by photograph or video a violation of subsection (a)

as committed against livestock shall, within forty-eight (48) hours of the photograph’s or recording’s creation:

(1) Report such violation to law enforcement authorities; and

(2) Submit any unedited photographs or video recordings to law enforcement authorities.

SECTION 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2013, the public welfare requiring it.”

If only more legislation by governments across this country could be that short and to the point.

Bills and laws like this have been stirring up dust across the country. I shared my thoughts here on the blog last month in a post that was picked up by CNN Eatocracy. Since then, the same page has posted perspectives by Ohio farmer, Mike Haley, along with VP of Farm Animal Protection for the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), Paul Shapiro.

Largely the perspectives from the agriculture side did not receive a lot of feedback. However, Shapiro’s post came with several comments very negative about the issue. Personally, many of them are 1 and 2 liners that look like someone rallied the troops and invited everyone to post a comment in opposition to the ‘ag gag’ bills.

To me, a bill like TN HB1191/SB1248 is important because it limits the undercover and investigative recording of groups like HSUS who splice together and narrate the footage, then use it in a release that happens to be very timely for their fundraising efforts. Nashville’s Fox affiliate featured a story this week that highlighted just how deceptive HSUS’ fundraising campaigns are in regards to contributions to actual animal shelters.

The bill is not a “gag” as many folks have labeled. It requires immediate reporting of cruelty and prevents out-of-context, deceptive undercover investigations released to the public. Does our food and farm system need to be more transparent in its practices? Yes. But these undercover videos only hamper that situation.

I’m not 100% behind this type of legislation and feel it important to highlight my previous statement“Our country doesn’t need another law telling us how to act behind the gates. We need encouragement for better transparency without harassment from others seeking to place blame and mislead for personal gain.”

Everyone is allowed to have an opinion here, and I think both sides are passionate about stopping animal cruelty. How much clearer can we get than the Tennessee bill in question?

We need a better understand of how each side is defining cruelty in livestock and some open-mindedness long enough to sit down and come to an understanding of what is best for our livestock and those caring for them.

Angus Association visits me in Tennessee [Video]

I am Angus - Ryan GoodmanThe American Angus Association is one of the largest organizations within the cattle industry and does a great job showcasing the hard-working cattle producers across the country. Along with numerous print publications, the Angus folks have a great online presence. Their YouTube channel is full of videos featuring great news and information for cattle farmers and those looking to learn more about beef cattle production.

Young Bull Management

Late last summer I had a great opportunity to work with the folks at the Angus Association. They came out to the University farm in Spring Hill, TN and filmed a few segments with us. The first segment aired on the weekly Angus Report on RFD-TV back in October. Middle Tennessee Research and Education Center Director, Kevin Thompson, shared some great tips with cattle producers who are interested in better management for their young herd bulls.

I am Angus – Social Media for Cattle Industry

The second segment aired this past January on the I am Angus show, also on RFD-TV. In this segment I shared some information for those looking to share more information about agriculture and encouraged other cattle producers to join the conversations about food and farming through the use of social media. I also discussed the importance of mentors for younger generations within the cattle industry and some of my future plans within the cattle industry.

Be sure to check out more of the videos on the American Angus Association’s YouTube channel and let them know you appreciate their work to share the stories of cattle farmers and ranchers from across the country. They are doing their part to share the honest story of agriculture with the world and you should too!


Social Agriculture: Social Media’s Role in Agriculture [Video]

Video of our panel at the 2013 American Farm Bureau Federation annual meeting in Nashville, TN.

A look at the Tennessee Tobacco fields

Have I mentioned that tobacco is a new crop to me since moving to Tennessee? Pretty sure I was one of the “new” folks wondering why that barn was smoking! Tobacco is still a big crop in Tennessee; both burley and dark fire are grown across North Central and Eastern parts of the state.

This past weekend while I was out doing forage measures in the pastures of our North Middle TN farm, I got a brief tour of the tobacco crop which is in the middle of harvest. The University has some air cured and barn(?) cured tobacco on the farm and I got to see a little of both. I even got to walk in one of the barns that was on fire and learned it’s just sawmill boards and sawdust on fire, the smoke and heat is what cures the tobacco. It can take several fires to cure tobacco.

Tobacco barn

The burley tobacco is the lighter green, taller variety in these photos. It’s mostly used in cigarettes. Many U.S. cigarettes are a blend of a couple U.S. varieties and an overseas variety of tobacco.

Burley tobacco plant

The dark fire tobacco is what’s used in chews and cigars. The leaf is what actually makes the wrap around the cigar.

Dark fire tobacco plant

I’m not sure what other uses there may be for tobacco. I’m sure there’s some sort of research into use for biofuels. The government has heavily regulated the tobacco markets and manufacturing, so the U.S. crop isn’t near as large as it once was.

Tomorrow I’ll have a guest post by David Hayden who actually grew up farming tobacco and studied it in college. He has some great insight to the growing season for tobacco and some of the difficulties farmers face when growing the crop. Be sure to tune in!

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Have you ever seen a tobacco crop in the field?