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  • The Tennessee Agricultural Museum opens in May, and Co-op is the first sponsor for an exhibit of a hand-cracked corn sheller and a 1904 Meadows grist mill turned by a 10-horsepower gas engine.
  • Co-op emphasizes soil-testing more than ever before, and a greater number of farmers follow soil-test recommendations.
  • The first Milan No-Till Day is held July 23, 1981, with some 2,000 people in attendance – about twice as many as expected. Co-op played a key role as an exhibitor that first year and has been part of the popular field day ever since. The event is now held every other year.
  • Computers are installed to control the batch processing at feed mills, first at the Tenco bag mill. Within the nest 12 months, all of TFC’s five feed mills are utilizing the system.
  • Tennessee Council of Cooperative is organized with TFC’s W.E. Bailey as its first president. This organization is still active today in its role of promoting and advancing cooperatives in the state. The council’s membership structure is grouped into five categories: dairy cooperatives, farm credit organization, farm supply cooperatives, livestock associations, marketing organizations, and Farm Bureau.
  • W.E. Bailey is named to succeed J. Franklin Nix, who retires after 28 years as general manager on April 30 th. The title is changed to president and chief executive officer by modifying the TFC bylaws.
  • Fertilizer barging from mines and production facilities to river terminals in Tennessee for distribution in Co-ops becomes feasible.
  • High tensile becomes the latest thing in fencing.
  • Payment-in-kind program causes farmers to cut back corn, wheat, and cotton production. The objective of this government program was to reduce production to boost prices, but the drop in acreage dramatically affected Co-op sales.
  • Co-op Action Ration is introduced as a well balanced, high-energy, high-protein feed for active dogs.
  • State FFA elects the first female president – Pam Farmer of Paris. Four other young women have been named to this prestigious post since then.
  • The national Council of Farmers Cooperative (HCFC) votes to become affiliated with Agricultural Cooperative Development International and the American Institute of Cooperation. TFC has been a member of NCFC almost since the cooperative’s inception. A nationwide association of cooperative businesses owned and controlled by farmers, NCFC is the voice of its members in legislative matters on the national level and serves as a clearinghouse in the collection and exchange of educational material.
  • TFC switches to rail transportation to reduce cost for fertilizer distribution. The costs were equal to or better than barge rates in most instances.
  • A new program allows producers to purchase bulk feed bins and pay for them with normal bulk discounts earned by purchasing at bagged at bagged feed prices. This program provides an economical means for livestock producers to purchase needed storage equipment.
  • The Feed Division continues to work closely with Tennessee’s dairymen to utilize a computer ration-balancing program. The service contributes to the largest number of dairymen feeding Co-op rations in the cooperative’s history.
  • Big Red dog food and Li’l Red cat food are added to Co-op pet food line.
  • A new tank farm is installed at the Jackson Distribution Center, signaling the start of Co-op’s new bulk chemical service.
  • June Dairy Month celebrates its 50 th Anniversary.
  • TFC and its member Co-ops form their own insurance company, Agricultural Risk Insurance Co. Ltd.
  • The first “30-Farmer Tour” is held to provide producers with a chance to see their investments beyond their local Co-op stores and form friendships with fellow producers from across the state. This tour continues today under the name “Leadership Advance” and usually includes stops at FFR Cooperative in Lafayette, Ind., Chicago Heights Steel, maker of Co-op red T-posts; Monsanto in St. Louis, Mo.; and the Chicago Board of Trade. TFC representatives also educate tour participants in the cooperative way of doing business.
  • TFC becomes major sponsor of UT’s Vol Network; John Ward becomes the official spokesman in “Go Co-op” advertisements.
  • The LaVergne Distribution Center is expanded by 28,600 square feet.
  • New bagging equipment is installed at Tenco fertilizer plant.
  • The inaugural “Pick Tennessee Products” campaign is launched by the Tennessee Department if Agriculture.
  • TFC upgrades the Jackson feed mill and constructs a new facility for repair and storage of pallets at LaVergne.
  • CoBank is formed through the merger of 11 of the 13 district banks for cooperatives, and its in first year of operation proves fruitful. This co-operative banking institution offers a broad range of flexible loan programs and specially tailored financial services to agricultural cooperatives like TFC, rural utility systems, and Farm Credit associations. CoBank, headquartered in Denver, Colo., also finances agricultural exports and provides international banking services for the benefit of U.S. farmer-owned co-ops and American agriculture.
  • Tobacco farmers in Tennessee are introduced to growing plants in float trays rather than conventional tobacco beds.
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