Updated: Jan 25
At TCA's recent winter meeting that was held on Jan. 2-3 in Lebanon, there were five individuals elected to serve in leadership positions. Jay Yeargin of Weakley County ended his term as TCA president, handing the reins over to Dustin Pearson of Washington County.
Pearson, a resident of Gray, Tenn., is a stocker/backgrounding operator. He, along with his wife Chrissa, and sons Judd and Gage, purchase preconditioned and high-risk calves from local cattle operations and regional stockyards to grow with strict nutritional feeding and care. Then, after they reach their desired weight, they are grouped together and sold on truckloads. Judd and Gage run a Scottish Highland herd and a pumpkin patch.
Being in leadership is not a new experience for Pearson. He has held several positions locally and state-wide including serving as past president of the Washington County Cattlemen’s Association, serving on the Washington County Agriculture Committee, the Washington County Farm Bureau Board as a youth committee member, and on the Farm Credit agricultural advisory board. Additionally, he is on the Tennessee Beef Industry Council Board of Directors and volunteers as a deacon at Oak Grove Baptist Church in Gray.
In addition, Pearson has been an active member of TCA for many years and has served as District 9 Vice President, an At-Large director, and president-elect before being elected as president.
Next in line is the new president-elect Gary Dering of Fayette County.
Originally from Campbell, Minnesota, Dering began his career working for General Mills as an auditor and eventually, moved to Missouri where he worked for International Dairy Queen, Inc. He and his wife, Gale, moved to Tennessee and he started working in the insurance field. However, after purchasing land near Moscow, he was offered advice to put cattle on it. This began his journey in the beef cattle industry, in addition to growing his successful insurance business.
Today, he raises around 25 head of cow-calf pairs and manages things mostly on his own, with some help from his son. Dering and his wife have four grown children and five grandchildren, with another on the way.
Dering brings many years of experience and leadership to this role having served as vice president of the Fayette County Livestock Association, served on the Tennessee Baptist Convention Board of Directors, and ran for mayor of Rossville. He feels that these roles and his herd size make him a qualified leader, “The majority of cattle producers in Tennessee have 50 head of cattle or less. They feel like no one hears them. However, I am in their shoes and can be their voice. It is my obligation to use my skills to represent their interests the best I can.”
Also elected to serve on the Board as an At-Large Director is Stacey Stricklin of Hardin County.
Stricklin, and his wife Suzanne, have three daughters, Cailin, Sarah, and Riley. He holds a B.S. degree in Education from the University of Memphis and a Master’s degree in Administration and Supervision from Trevecca. He has worked with the Hardin County Schools for the past 25 years. In addition to his role as an educator, Stricklin also runs a cow-calf operation and sells custom freezer beef from his farm.
Stricklin is dedicated to leadership roles in his community. He served for eight years as a Hardin County Commissioner, one year as Budget Chairman, coached football for almost 20 years, was an Assistant Principal for 14 years, and is currently in charge of the maintenance and grounds of the schools.
"We have to continue to promote and educate younger generations to draw interest in the cattle industry," says Stricklin. "With trying times over the last five or more years, many farms have been sold and folks are choosing not to stay in the industry. We need to support the men and women across the state that are continuing their work within the cattle industry."
Kevin Posey of Lincoln County was elected to serve as an At-Large Director, as well.
Posey, and his wife Hannah, have four children, Jack (15), Arleigh (13), Jessie (9), and Oakley (6). He is the Operations Manager for Lincoln County Vending and has been with the company since October 2000. In addition to his career, Posey also runs a small registered Angus herd, where he sells a few bulls each year and works on growing the herd with his females.
Posey has a long history of involvement in leadership roles in the community. He previously served on the Lincoln County Livestock Association as a board member and then as president. He has also served on the board of the Lincoln County/Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce, is currently a Lincoln County School Board Member and previous Vice Chair of the Trustees Committee at his church, and is Assistant Chair on this committee. Kevin recently completed his terms as the Southeastern Vending Association President, and Tennessee Automatic Merchandisers Association President.
And finally, Shane Williams of McMinn County was elected to serve as an At-Large Director/Executive Committee Director.
Williams is a fourth-generation farmer near Athens, Tenn. He and his wife Sarah raise hay, cattle, timber, and switchgrass on their McMinn County farm. Williams is also a Senior Financial Officer for Farm Credit Mid-America.
Having served on the TCA Board of Directors previously, Williams was instrumental in developing the Youth Beef Heifer Initiative Scholarship. This program is sponsored by Farm Credit Mid-America and TCA and provides youth with a scholarship to purchase a beef heifer to show or begin their own herd. He also helps guide TCA's Second Harvest Initiative, a program where sponsor funds are used to purchase the prize-winning steers during the Tennessee Junior Beef Expo. Then, those steers are processed and their beef is donated to the Second Harvest Food Bank.
"We are glad to have such great people elected to our Board of Directors," said Charles Hord, executive vice president. "They all bring great perspective and expertise to the table, and we are confident they will be great assets to lead the association forward."