In a family-style setting, the 30th annual Farm-City Banquet presented by the Greene County Partnership Agribusiness Committee featured a wholesome meal friends and families enjoyed together.
Old friends greeted one another and neighbors enjoyed light-hearted conversation as the feeling of community and generosity swept through the Clyde Austin 4-H Center.
Approximately 200 farmers, agricultural professionals and community members showed up for an evening of fun, scholarship announcements, award presentations and a chicken dinner.
Steve Hale, retired University of Tennessee Extension director, presented the 2018 Robert C. Austin Award for Distinguished Service to Community to Rhonda Humbert, who was previously general manager of Capitol Theatre of Greeneville, serves as executive director of the Foster Grandparents program and is on the board of directors for the Greene County Fair.
Hale joked that if someone were to look at Humbert’s list of responsibilities in the community, they would wonder how she had time to do anything else.
“I’m proud to be a Greene Countian,” said a shocked Humbert as she accepted her award.
Dennis Adams was awarded the 2018 J.W. Massengill Award for Distinguished Service to Agriculture. The award was given to him by Philip “P.B.” Bachman, Massengill’s grandson.
Adams has around 50 years of service dedicated to the dairy industry in several states.
Some guests included County Commissioner George Clemmer, County Clerk Lori Bryant, Road Superintendent Kevin Swatsell and former Greene County Sheriff Pat Hankins, among others.
“I am so proud to say that with the Future Farmers of America Foundation here in Greene County, which started in 1993 and then started the scholarship a few years later, we have raised over $34,000 over the years,” said Ronnie Sartain, a member of the Greene County Partnership’s Agribusiness Committee.
Sartain congratulated Jenna Williams and Courtney Jessie, of West Greene High School, for receiving the $1,000 scholarship from the the FFA Foundation. He also awarded the $1,000 scholarship by the Greene County Livestock Association to Christina Emmett and Colton Fleenor of Chuck-Doak High School, as well as Courtney Jessie of WGHS.
Sartain presented a slideshow made by the Agribusiness Committee for the year. During the slideshow, he explained the importance of agricultural tourism in Greene County and highlighted some local agricultural statistics.
Greene County is the top county in beef cattle production in Tennessee. The state has 67,300 farms. The cattle industry in Tennessee generates $860 million for family beef farms, a news release announcing the event said.
Tennessee cattle farms supply consumers with 4.6 million quarter-pound hamburgers, 125 million pounds of roast and 62 million pounds of steaks each year.
The Agribusiness Committee hosts several events throughout the year. Kid’s Day on the Farm is held in October at the University of Tennessee AgResearch & Education Center for third-graders in the city and county school systems. The event teaches local kids about daily aspects of farming.
The June Dairy Days Celebration has contests for all ages, entertainment and free dairy products to sample as Greeneville and Greene County pays homage to dairy farmers.
The Agribusiness Committee publishes a monthly newsletter of farm and gardening tips and includes important upcoming dates for the rural community.
The Greene County Agriculture Today radio program, heard each Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m. on WGRV AM and FM radio stations, also provides information on current topics of interest to local farmers and others involved in agriculture. Hosted by Sartain, the radio program is also a service of the Agribusiness Committee.
“Our theme this year is ‘Celebrating the importance of agriculture to all citizens in Greeneville and Greene County,’” said Sartain. “We want to tell the story of agriculture.”
Sponsors for banquet were Andrew Johnson Bank, George Mays, C&C Millwright Maintenance Company, Consumer Credit Union, Delfasco, Farm Credit Mid-America, Greene County Veterinary Medical Center, Greeneville Federal Bank, Greeneville Light & Power System, Greene County Farm Bureau, Heritage Community Bank, John Deere Power Products, Tusculum Farm Bureau-Wayne Hughes, The Greeneville Sun, Still Hollow Century Farm, Eastman Credit Union, First Tennessee Bank and The Timeless Fence Systems.