State Reports

State Summary 2017 — Tennessee

State Contact

Mr. Chris Fleming
Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation
P.O. Box 313
Columbia, TN 38402-0313
P: 931.388.7872

Classroom Resources

Cowboy Dan's Frontier:Cotton Farmer Blues is a video about this versatile crop. It features Tennessee farmers, Texas processors and Dan's music.

Major Program Accomplishments or Outputs

Our summer institutes had increased attendance this year. We found that teachers were looking for resources that aligned with the updated state standards in science.

Seventy-two Farm Days sponsored by County Farm Bureaus continued to strengthen the tie between the local schools, farms and AITC program. Another project provided 57 grants to fund counties that develop a farm tour program. The grants were awarded totaled $22,000 for farm tours. Funds were generated by the sale of Tennessee Country: In The Land of Their Fathers" a coffee-table book featuring photos and essays about Tennessee. The book was commissioned by two of Tennessee Farm Bureau's service companies and provides 100% profit to the grant program.

The Foundation's fundraising efforts continue to attract new donors and find new avenues for raising funds.

The Farm Bureau Women's cookbooks continue to sell. The Vol. II book is in its third printing. The books are sold through the county offices as well as phone orders handled in our state office.

The Tennessee Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom provides grants to schools that establish outdoor classroom gardens. Forty-seven schools received funds ($18,650) this year to start or continue their garden projects. Many schools that have been funded for projects in the past have become self-sufficient.

We recognized 12 teachers as county nominees for outstanding participation with AITC. We had 3 teachers recognized by AFBFFA's White-Reinhardt scholarships and were fortunate to have one teacher awarded the EITAA award from NAITCO.

Major Program Impacts or Outcomes

100% of the teachers participating in our summer institutes said that they intend to incorporate AITC materials into their classroom activities. This represents a minimum of 6,000 additional students being introduced to agriculture's role in our society. 60,000 students participated in farm tours. Volunteers representing production agriculture, agriculture businesses and associations developed displays to share with teachers and students at seventy-two locations.

By providing training to Extension Agents, the Foundation extends the reach of AITC materials to Tennessee's 328,086 4-H members. Lesson plans are distributed online and on cd-roms to agents. Since our 4-H program is still in the schools, contact with students is maintained through teachers, agents, volunteers and AITC staff. Our Extension Agents do not list their time separately for the AITC activities since they are an integral part of 4-H.

Our partnership with the Tennessee FFA Association and the Tennessee Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association allows our materials to be used in a mentoring program. Agriculture Education teachers use our materials in their classes to reach the 31,337 students enrolled in Tennessee's various agriculture courses. The students use our materials during mentoring opportunities with younger students during visits with elementary and middle schools. These opportunities are also excellent recruiting tools for attracting future students into agriculture education.


Chris lives on the family beef farm in Loretto, Tennessee with his wife, Teresa. His three sons, Jed, Luke and Adam are in college and beginning careers of their own. He has been involved in agricultural education in one form or another all of his life. Participating in 4-H and FFA prepared him for his decision to pursue agricultural education as a career, receiving both his B.S. and M.S. in Agriculture.

He began his career by serving as a high school Agriculture teacher for twelve years before joining Tennessee Farm Bureau’s team. Chris serves as Associate Director under Dan Strasser, Director of the Special Programs department in the areas of Agriculture in the Classroom, Young Farmers & Ranchers and Farm Bureau Women. Chris coordinates the work of ten educational consultants in providing pre- and in-service training for 1,200 teachers each year. Chris has been involved with AITC for a total of 32 years: 12 as a classroom teacher and 20 as Tennessee Farm Bureau's AITC coordinator. Currently serving as NAITCO Past President allows him to gain ideas to improve Tennessee's AITC program.