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  • 21 Jan 2024 21:05 | President (Administrator)

    I hope all of my fellow farmer veterans are surviving the Big Freeze of 2024.

    As veterans we generally know how to be prepared for these sort of events, so I hope we all got in our food and water supplies and had our alternate sources of heat ready.  Some of us might still be new to the whole farming thing, but I know that you were all out there diligently taking care of your animals and your homestead. 

    Here at Bee Ridges Farm in the Knoxville area we had over 8 inches of snow and it has all turned to ice.  We had the luxury of a bobcat to help scrape out our long driveway and our major farm roads so that we could get around with our warm water and feed for our animals.  We also have the luxury of three adults on the farm to help spread the workload somewhat.  On the day it was snowing the most we all spent hours knocking snow off the roof of our hoop-house goat barn.  

    With the warm up that is supposed to start on Monday we should all be preparing for excess water, lots of mud and possible flooding.  Again, as veterans we have experience in dealing with conditions as they present themselves.  Take heart and know that you are not alone.


  • 28 Sep 2023 10:43 | Ron Bridges

    Hello to all of the FVC-TN Members!

    Chris Podewills stepped down as President earlier this month and on September 18th, the Chapter's Board of Directors elected to bring me back as the Chapter President.

    This is a great opportunity  and I hope to see the chapter continue in its growth and in its service to our fellow farmer veterans.

    I want to take a few minutes and thank Chris for his service as VP and President over the past year.  Chris was instrumental in several initiatives and fund raising activities during this time and he was our primary leader during the Veterans Farming Boot camp back in March.    

    I am glad to be working with Shae McCarthy as our chapter Vice President.  Many of you will remember Shae from the Pick Tn Conference or maybe the 4th of July Gathering that she and Gabby hosted for us on their farm: Shabby Acres.  

    We are in need of some additional leaders within the chapter.  We strongly need a new Secretary , a new Treasurer, and a new Communications Officer.

    We are always open to having members step up as Regional Coordinators or more localized Amabasadors.  These local leaders are vital to us having an more positive impact on our fellow farmer veterans.  These are the people that help arrange local projects (like fence building days) and local social get-togethers.  

    If you are interested in helping the chapter grow, contact me at:

    Our next big event as a chapter is the Ag in the Foothills event on October  21st and I will be adding more information about that in the Events section.    But the really big events will be occurring in early 2024.  FVC-TN will have a large presence at the Pick-TN Conference February 15 to 17, we will then work with Finis Stribling and his TSU colleagues to run a second Farmer Veteran Bootcamp February 29th to March 2nd and then we will hold our chapter's Annual Stake-Holders meeting on Saturday April 6th.  


    Ron Bridges

    Chapter President

  • 14 Feb 2023 10:23 | President (Administrator)

    FVCTN is happy to be a part of the Tennessee Veterans (TNVETS), a nonpartisan group focused on legislative actions that affect all veterans in the state. You can check out their website here.

    Here are two messages they've asked us to provide to our members. Please engage directly with TNVETS if you'd like to get involved!


    Widest Distribution Requested

    To all members of the 10 veteran organizations that compose TNVET. We are fast approaching a deadline.

    Within the last 7-10 days you should have received an email from TNVET that was distributed through your respective veteran organization’s communication channels. As a reminder, that email information was as follows:

    TNVET approved (Oct 2022 membership meeting) supporting a legislative effort to get a full Medical Cannabis program approved in Tennessee to help our veterans.

    TNVET needs to locate and identify physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants, pharmacists and other medically recognized professionals who have actually prescribed, observed/experienced or studied the medical conditions for which Medical Cannabis is a course of treatment that benefits the health needs of the affected veterans.

    Please provide for the quickest and widest distribution possible of the attached within your veteran organization. Time is of the essence!

    Tennessee is among the last 12 states that does not have an approved a Medical Cannabis program.  We have received addition information on the Medical Cannabis Bill.  The Bill will come before its first legislative committee (Judicial) for review and discussion on Tuesday, Feb 21.  We currently do not have a specific meeting time. We again are searching for personnel that can come to Nashville on the 21st and speak in support of the topic as identified in the email. We need the name, email and a phone contact number of the person or persons that will assist with this effort and what medical or other background they have on the issue. The TNVET Executive board will coordinate and assist the person(s) in attending the meeting.

    Although we did not ask for this info in our original email on the topic, if there is a veteran that currently goes out of state for treatment that involves Medical Cannabis (all but two states that touch Tennessee have such programs) and has the medical records (doctor visits, prescriptions, and/or any valid medical record) and may be willing to come and speak to the committee and provide (if needed/requested) the medical validation, we would like to hear from you. If you are a medical cannabis patient, but would rather not speak, but would like to help by allowing us use your experience/treatment as an example, then we would like to hear from you also. The reason we need medical validation of such cases/experience is due to the nature of the legislative process.  It could come down to a favorable vote based on actual experience of such patients and the legislators (within medical norms and laws) may want support of any claims.

    Please submit any information to by Feb 18th.  If you have any questions, you may call 931-358-3579.  If you do not get an immediate answer, please leave a message with your name and number and that you are calling on the medical cannabis bill.

    Thank you,

    TNVET Executive Board


    To all TNVET organizations and veteran members,

    Please give this email the quickest and widest distribution possible

    TNVET needs your help and involvement.  As we had to cancel this year’s “Veterans Day On The Hill” we lost valuable facetime and effort with our legislators on the TNVET bills.  One bill that is in the works, and that TNVET has been pushing for several years, is to “RESTORE” the second free motor vehicle license for all qualified 100 % disabled veterans. Eligible disable veterans had been granted the 2nd free plate for years, until 2014. That year, the legislature removed the free 2nd plate per action in Senate Bill 1913 and House Bill 1736.  You may reference/read the bill that eliminated the 2nd plate bill at:

    Pages 3 and 4 contain the sections where the plate numbers were reduced for motor vehicles 

    Through continued TNVET research, the cost savings analysis of eliminating the 2nd plate was determined to be “NOT SIGNIFICANT by the state of Tennessee in 2014. It appears the loss of the 2nd disabled/purple heart plate was to offset other types of plates that displayed some military action/honor.  Last year when TNVET tried to restore the plate the cost was placed at almost $240,000.  You may see the 2014 cost analysis at:

    TNVET is again trying to RESTORE the second plate based. Rep. Glynn (HB0700) and Sen. Yarbo (SB1162) are sponsoring bills for TNVET to restore the 2nd plate.  To take advantage of this legislative support we need veterans to contact members of the House Transportation Committee and Senate Transportation and Safety Committee to show that support! Numbers matter!  We need you to email and/or call (email leaves a trackable trail, which is better when dealing with legislation) the legislative members on these committees and voice your support!

    It is expected that the House Transportation Committee will meet on this bill Feb 15. Thus, time is of the essence. The 25 members’ phone and email addresses of the House Transportation Committee members may be found at:

    In the Senate, the bill has passed its initial review and is headed to the full Transportation and Safety Committee for review.  The nine members’ phone and email addresses of the Senate Transportation Committee members may be found at:

    When you email or contact your House or Senate member, if you are a constituent, let them know that….it carries weight with them. You are not limited to just contacting your own representatives.  With district changes many veterans may know or have contact with several legislators and it serves to contact them all.

    If you don’t know for sure who represents you, go to the following website and enter your address and your legislators will be identified:

    Approximately 27,000 veterans are members of the ten organizations that compose TNVET.  Your voice needs to be heard at the legislature.  Please do so before Feb 15.  If the bills can pass both the House and Senate committee, they will be forwarded to the next House and Senate Committee.  That likely could be the Finance Committees for both legislatures.  We will again need your voice to be heard in those committees.  We will alert you when your support is needed in these committees. 

    We have provided an outline for you to email the House and Senate members below.  You may use it as is, alter as you wish, or construct your own.  The important thing is to act and contact!!! 

    Thank you,

    TNVET Executive Board


    Example email:

    Dear Representative or Senator XXXXX

    I am contacting you to ask for your support of House Bill HB0700  (or Senate Bill 1162), which would restore the provision of a 2nd free license plate to eligible 100% disabled or Purple Heart Veterans by the State of Tennesse

    These veterans were provided a 2nd plate for years, until 2014 when the legislature eliminated the second plate. Efforts to restore this service-connected benefit have failed in recent years.  Our military brothers and sisters who have honorably served this country and experienced a level of trauma severe enough to result in a Veterans Administration and State of Tennessee recognized classification of 100% disability deserve this singular benefit in recognition of their service to this nation and for calling Tennessee home.

    I would be very grateful for your support of this bill.

    Thank you,


    Full Address


  • 22 Jan 2023 21:43 | President (Administrator)

    If you're politically minded or just wondering what your elected officials are up to, all FVCTN members are invited to attend Veterans Day on the Hill in Nashville TN on Feb 1, 2023.

    The event, hosted by Tennessee Veterans, is held every year as a way to bring together Veterans across the state and unify our voices on a variety of issues. Attendees meet state legislators and can tour the Capitol building.

    Registration to attend closes on Monday Jan 23 at noon. Click here for more information or to sign up to attend. 

  • 5 Oct 2022 17:10 | President (Administrator)

    As of 5 October, the Tennessee State Veterinarian is lifting statewide poultry restrictions following the detection of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) last month in a backyard flock in Obion County, Tenn.

    HPAI was confirmed in a backyard flock of poultry in Obion County on Sept. 15. The disease is known to be deadly for domesticated fowl. Although the affected site remains under quarantine, movement permits are no longer required for poultry moving into or out of the control zone of 10 km (6.2 miles) surrounding the site. Poultry shows, exhibitions, and sales can now also resume statewide. However, poultry owners are reminded to maintain strong biosecurity procedures, remain vigilant, and report signs of illness in their birds.

    “The coordinated response to stop the spread of HPAI in this area worked, but we can’t let our guard down,” Tennessee State Veterinarian Dr. Samantha Beaty said. “We are grateful to our animal health technicians, the poultry industry, backyard flock owners, and our partners for working together to protect our state’s birds. Still, HPAI is highly transmissible and we strongly encourage poultry owners to continue doing all they can to ensure good health in their flocks.”

    Although HPAI does not pose a food safety risk, no infected poultry are ever allowed to enter the food supply. Poultry and eggs are safe to eat when handled and cooked properly. The risk of human infection with avian influenza during poultry outbreaks is very low. In fact, no transmission to humans was reported during the outbreak that affected commercial poultry farms in Tennessee in 2017.

    Owners of backyard and commercial poultry flocks are encouraged to:

    ·       Closely observe domesticated birds.

    ·       Report a sudden increase in the number of sick birds or bird deaths to the Tennessee State Veterinarian’s office at 615- 837-5120 and/or USDA at 1-866-536-7593.

    ·       Prevent contact with wild birds.

    ·       Practice good biosecurity with your poultry. More information can be found online at

    ·       Enroll in the National Poultry Improvement Plan, the Secure Broiler Supply Plan, and the Secure Egg Supply Plan as appropriate for your operation.

    Information about Tennessee’s response to avian influenza and resources can be found online at

  • 13 May 2022 13:23 | Jennifer Durant

    National FVC announced today that it awarded nearly $450,000 in gift cards nationwide and Tennessee veterans reaped the benefits. Congratulations to our members for being recognized for their hard work and business sense! Keep an eye out for interviews and help sessions with these folks so we can continue to bring resources and recognition to the awesome members of FVCTN!

    Tamlyn Burnham | Houston County Farm | Army

    Johanna Kirkegaard-Blue | Do the Needful Farms | Air Force

    Amber Saldana | Cold Creek Flower Farm | Air Force

    Anthony Elms | Golden Valley Farm | Air Force

    Chad Shields | Six Stone Jars Farm, LLC | Army

    Ayna Lisa Brown | Oak Grove Lavender | Navy

    James Blair | Double JB Farm | Navy

     Christopher Boyce | Silver Bell Ranch | Army & Navy

  • 30 Mar 2022 15:00 | Jennifer Durant

    Kenza White, Air Force veteran and East TN New Farmer graduate, was the recent receipent of a Frontline Garden raised bed inspired by her Air Force story. A dozen FVCTN members came out to volunteer in the installation. Vets helping vets is what it's all about!

  • 20 Feb 2022 14:01 | Ron Bridges

    The 2022 PickTN Conference felt like a home coming event.  It was at this conference in 2020 that we officially stood up the TN state chapter of FVC.

    It was great to reconnect with old friends and just as important to make new friends throughout the three day event.  

    Our annual meeting on Friday was very inspiring and invigorating to me.  It was great to  see so many new people that were wanting to join in and engage in our efforts to help our fellow veterans grow in their farming careers.  

    The current leadership team will be pulling together all of the information we gleaned and should be able to provide a slate of candidates for the full membership to vote on.   This will help to keep the chapter viable and growing as we work to create a new and better 'normal' post-COVID.  I look forward to seeing how the chapter will grow with this new infusion of energy and ideas. 

    What did others learn from the conference and what visions do we have for the future of our chapter? 

  • 21 Nov 2021 20:58 | Ron Bridges

    Now that the FVC National Stakeholder Conference is over, I have had the opportunity to reflect a bit on the experience and what a great opportunity this was to show off our state and our chapter.

    As the chapter President, I was very proud of the showing that TN made to this event.  We had over 30 participants and all of them showed the southern hospitality expected of us as hosts.  Members of FVC-TN moderated or participated in break-out workshops, provided information to fellow attendees and planned and conducted three outstanding Farm Tours. 

    Everyone that I talked with at the conference was pleased with the planning and the execution and the warm welcome that TN farmer veterans provided.  We are a great state and a great chapter and it showed very well over the 3 days of the conference.

    As the host state chapter, FVC-TN had a fair amount of work to do to help with the planning of this conference.  The leadership team created a working group to plan for and implement this great event that included Jim Artman (VP), Amanda Lovingood (Secretary), Jen Durant (Communications), PZ Horton (Board) and Eileen Legault (Advisory committee) and myself.  These 6 chapter leaders essentially "worked a second job" as we held numerous zoom meetings, sent countless e-mails and followed up on details in an ever- changing situation.  The TN chapter helped with venue selection, the Wednesday night social event and overall planning and were additionally responsible for the Color Guard, four of the break-out sessions and all three farm tours.  We had a lot of help in planning our Farm Tours from Jeni Goodrich (advisory committee) and her fellow extension agents.   

    The end result was a great opportunity for TN farmer veterans to mee with and network with each other as well as fellow farmer veterans from at least 15 states.  In addition we got to meet with and interact with members of the FVC National Team and numerous exhibitors.    All of the work was worth it as these conversations have sparked many new ideas with attendees.    I look forward to seeing these ideas grow into actions in the coming year.

    Please reply to this post with your own reflections on the FVC stakeholders conference. What was your favorite part?

  • 18 Oct 2021 22:42 | Ron Bridges

    Welcome to the FVC-TN Website!  A good number of people from the state chapter leadership have been working toward a site like this for nearly a year.  COVID and other factors delayed our work, but we formed an IT committee back in July and that got us moving forward again.  Special thanks go out to PZ Horton (one of our Board Members) for doing the lions share of the work on this website. 

    I hope that everyone finds this website useful and easy to navigate.  We are not perfect and we know that there will need to be some adjustments and additions as we go forward.  We chose this particular platform because it allows individual members to correct and update their own directory information.  If you see something in error in your information, you can correct it.  If you see errors in other parts of the website or if you want to make suggestions for improvement, please send them our way.  Replying to this Blog Post would be one way to make those suggestions.

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