NACD’s 72nd Annual Meeting in Nashville was a great success. With over 1,000 in attendance, the most in many years, TACD’s role from the Service Project at McGavock High School on Friday, the tour and Opry on Saturday, our booth on Soil Health and Grazing, the opening session on Monday to the TACD tours on Wednesday, TACD’s role was noted and successful.
First, I want to say a very big “thank you” to Carol Edwards from the Davidson County Soil Conservation District. Carol and I have worked together since last summer assisting NACD and have worked intensely since November to ensure the success of the convention and TACD’s role. I also want to thank Amy Dishner from Hawkins County and Daniel Rogers from Tipton County for volunteering with NACD and working from Saturday through Wednesday on the many tasks supporting the convention.
The NACD Executive Committee Service Project was with the McGavock High School FFA installing raised beds for use in the ag science classes. Providing financial support was the Davidson County SCD, Five Rivers RC&D and the Davidson County Farm Bureau. NACD Board Member Ray Weaver and President Kelly Stockton were also on hand to support the project. Jeanne Eastham and Carter Harris also attended to capture photos and video of the event. See a photo gallery of the Service Project at the end of this article.
Our tours were sold out and we received many comments on the value and enjoyment attendees experienced. On Saturday we had 56 for the Belmont and Travelers Rest tour and transported over 225 conventioneers to the Grand Ole Opry at the Ryman Theater in downtown Nashville that evening. On Wednesday we had a full bus, 56, to both the Belle Mont tour and lunch and another to Lynchburg for lunch at Miss Mary Bobo’s and tour of the Jack Daniel’s distillery. Helping with the tours we had TACD Vice President Jim Bledsoe for the Opry and the Lynchburg trip, Shorty Beaty from Hamilton, Donna Knox from Sequatchie, Amy Dishner and TCDEA President Janice Gilispie on all the tours. Last but not least, Mendel Wade of Crocket County traveled as host on the Lynchburg trip on Wednesday before representing TN in the National Conservation Planning Partnership meeting on Thursday. Also, Sara Steelman met the group in Lynchburg and assisted with lunch and the tour. Sara also assisted with the Service Project at McGavock High School.
I must mention the Opening Ceremony on Monday. President Stockton opened the meeting with the invocation, the award-winning Nashville Police Color Guard came next then the national anthem by Ashley Brooks from MTSU and three FFA members from McGavock High School led us in the pledge. To complete the opening Bob Strasser from the Davidson County Board provided a welcome to their District with a very well received history of his family farm in Davidson County and the history of agriculture and conservation in the county. Bob then introduced Commissioner Jai Templeton doing the welcome to Tennessee. It is always a pleasure to have the Commissioner support us with his background in ag in west Tennessee. He just relates well to our group and we really appreciate him being there on a busy day for the administration with the state of the state address Monday evening.
One of the biggest hits was the Sunshine Girls, Aspen and Nova Northcutt, who preformed during the Leadership Luncheon on Monday. They are even better than when they were at the TACD convention in Franklin last year and we got hundreds of great comments on their performance. These young performers are something and their dad and music teacher were pretty good too!
The Tennessee District employees decorated the tables for Monday Night’s Auction in Tennessee style with 275 Moon Pies donated by Hamilton County SCD, and enjoyed by all I’ll add, Nashville Guitar Picks and free Educational DVD’s by Cowboy Dan which were donated by Davidson County SCD.
At several events, Acting State Conservationist Matt Walker joined our group representing the Conservation Partnership in Tennessee. It was also a pleasure having Past President Roy Gillis from Washington County, West TN Vice President Kirk Daniel and Elaine Watkins from Tipton, Area 3 Director John More from Bradley, Doug Richardson from Carter and Erich Henry of Blount County joining us for many of these events and meetings. I also want to especially recognize Ray Weaver. Ray attended every event from Friday through Wednesday, representing TACD and our 95 Soil Conservation Districts as NACD Board member, even though he had knee replacement only two weeks before it started. This effort truly shows his commitment and dedication to our work. And as always, Elaine Weaver work with us on many aspects of the convention including NACD Auxiliary activities. Also, President Stockton was with Ray as our Alternate Board Member and Dr. Gillis filled in when Kelly had to be away.
We were also pleased to have our Soil Health Coordinator Mike Hubbs and our new Grazing Coordinator Greg Brann manning our booth in the event expo and Carter helped us set the booth up on Saturday and break down on Tuesday. Mike and Greg visited with hundreds of folks from Sunday through Tuesday on the success of our work in Tennessee. Over 500 Honey bears, with pure Tennessee honey, was provided to visitors at our booth.
Even though those of us who worked intensely on the meeting are somewhat glad it is done, it is a pleasure knowing all the hard work, by many, paid off in one of the most successful Annual Meetings NACD has had in several years. Again, a big thank you to all those involved.
TACD Soil Health Booth
NACD Executive Committee Service Project