Roger Radel of Sevierville, Tenn. recently completed his term as TCA president. He served in this role for two years. Lauren Neale interviewed him about his final thoughts of leading the association during that time.
Before you began your term, what did you hope to accomplish?
One of my platforms as president was to increase involvement on the county and district level. My idea was to set out and visit every district in the state of Tennessee and attend as many county meetings as possible. Reaching today’s youth, tomorrow’s future cattlemen and women, was a priority of mine as I was interested in their thoughts, ideas, and areas TCA could assist with their dreams.
What have been your favorite moments during your presidency?
Some of my favorite moments during my presidency were meeting all the new people, sharing stories, and listening to what was going on across our state in each county. I also enjoyed attending the youth cattle shows, the youth banquet and awards, and the TCA Convention and Trade Show. On a visit to Washington D.C., I had the opportunity to walk to the top balcony of the Capitol and take in the bird’s eye view of that historic city which I’ll never forget.
What events, meetings, etc. did you participate in?
I have participated in many local meetings and district meetings in person over the past two years, but what stands out to me the most is having virtual meetings with Melinda Perkins, Director of Youth Programs and Outreach and Luke Teeple, Chairman of Youth Activities and Development Committee as we selected the TCA Outstanding Youth Awards; as well as, virtual meetings with Shane Williams, Farm Credit Representative; along with Melinda Perkins as we selected the TCA/Farm Credit Mid-America Youth Beef Heifer Initiative Scholarships. I participated in quarterly TCA meetings, NCBA spring meeting in Washington D.C., Boots on the Hill, where I visited with our state legislators. I attended the Tennessee Agriculture Day on the Hill in Nashville and met with the legislators. I attended the NCBA summer meetings in Denver, Colorado. NCBA Cattle Industry and Trade Show in Phoenix and the other in New Orleans.
What programs did you help form or initiatives you pushed forward during your presidency?
This year, we implemented a new feature in our magazine, “Meet the County Presidents.” I worked with Lauren Neale, Director of Communications, on a format designed with Q&A style. I am very proud of her work on this. I also initiated the committees that were set up by the board to report in on what was happening. Any request for that committee, would be submitted on a newly developed form, reviewed by the committee, and then submitted to the board for approval. Charles Hord assisted in developing the forms. The convention committee was assigned a more in-depth role to assist Charles Hord during the convention.
What are some accomplishments you are proud of during your time as president?
TCA for the first time had a booth at the trade show, which allowed an opportunity for cattlemen and women to come by and have a good place for conversation. During the convention, a first ever meeting for county presidents and vice presidents was held which was great for learning and networking, and I hope it continues in the future.
How did COVID-19 affect your presidency?
The year of 2020 was almost non-existing with regard to meetings, other than January, February, and October for some district meetings, there was no real-time involvement. This is why those virtual meetings were most memorable to me in these unique times.
Why should people be members of TCA and why should they get involved in leadership?
People should become members so that they can stay abreast of factual information as it pertains to the cattle industry. Charles Hord, Executive Vice President of TCA, puts out a weekly Monday Memo on the internet with current topics. I defer to the TCA Mission Statement:
…to provide the cattle feeders and producers in the state of Tennessee with an organization through which they may function collectively to protect their interests and work toward the solution of cattle industry problems; and to build the necessary good-will that bring both governmental and public esteem and recognition to the industry.
People should get involved in leadership to inspire and motivate others in the organization to achieve goals.
If you could describe what the TCA does in a few sentences, what would that be?
TCA: A staff and leadership for issues that matter to your farm; a voice for cattle producers; an advocate for youth programs.
What are hopes you have for the future of TCA?
I hope TCA continues to stay on top of factual, current events with regard to our industry and not get bogged down in the challenges of the pandemic. I would like TCA to rely on committees to perform designated tasks, and continue with the County President/Vice President meeting at the convention or virtually.
What advice do you have for Jay as the next TCA president?
I think Jay will do a tremendous job. He will bring new vision and plans. My advice to Jay would be to lay out his plan before the Board, assign committee workers and chairs with specific expectations/roles/responsibilities. Rheba Capps, TCA’s Officer Manager, is the key to your success as she kept me up-to-date and informed, and I cannot thank her enough.
What advice do you have for Tennessee cattlemen and women in 2021?
I truly have enjoyed my journey. I was so blessed to meet many wonderful people in our great state. My advice to our Tennessee cattlemen and women for 2021 is to continue to practice safety due to the pandemic, but to also challenge yourself on how you can get your organizations more actively involved in a time of unique opportunities. My advice is don’t be out to pasture; rather, be out to make a difference!