Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation President Jeff Aiken announced he will not seek reelection at the annual meeting in December. Aiken, a third-generation beef cattle, hay, corn and tobacco farmer from Washington County, has served as president for the past six years and is only the 8th president in the organization’s 100-year history.
“When I was elected as president of the organization, I told everyone it’s because God called us to it, and now, Carol and I believe God is calling us back to the farm,” said Aiken. “The opportunity to serve the incredible farm people of Tennessee has been greater than we could have ever imagined, and we are exceptionally grateful for all we’ve experienced with our Farm Bureau family during these past six years.”
President Aiken and his wife, Carol, farm with his two brothers and manage their more than 900-acre family operation in Telford, Tenn. They first became involved in the organization through the Young Farmers and Ranchers organization where he served as state chairman in 1992 and in 1993 he and Carol were named the Tennessee Young Farmers of the Year. After serving for several years as a board member and president of the Washington County Farm Bureau, Aiken was first elected to the state board as director-at-large in 1998. He then was elected as vice president in 2012 before being elected president in 2015.
“Being a part of the Farm Bureau family and watching it grow has always been one of my passions,” Aiken says. “Traveling throughout our great state and listening to the concerns of our farmers and members and then seeing us develop policy to protect and promote our industry has been a blessing to Carol and I.”
Along with his service on the board of directors for the American Farm Bureau, Aiken has served on numerous boards and state and local committees including the Tennessee FFA Foundation, Tennessee State Fair Commission, Governor’s Rural Task Force, Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry and First Farmers and Merchants Bank. He was also selected by Tennessee Governor Bill Lee to serve on Tennessee’s Economic Recovery Group to represent interests of the agriculture community when building guidance to safely reboot the state’s economy during the pandemic.
TFBF has thrived under the leadership of President Aiken, as membership has grown by more than 35,000 family members to an all-time high of more than 680,000. The influence of the organization and its service companies has never been stronger and his leadership abilities and his passion and dedication for agriculture has strengthened farm and rural communities across Tennessee.
“Few are blessed with the amazing opportunity I’ve had to lead this great agricultural organization and represent the hard-working farmers of Tennessee,” Aiken said. “I am grateful for the Farm Bureau staff, leaders and agriculture industry partners I’ve worked with and will miss the day-to-day interaction. Carol and I will forever cherish the memories and friendships we’ve made, but we look forward to returning to our family and farm in East Tennessee.”
A new TFBF president will be elected to a two-year term by the voting delegates of the 100th annual meeting in Franklin, December 5-7, 2021.