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The University of Tennessee

Institute for a Secure and Sustainable Environment

CSBD Home > Leadership Summit on Sustainability > 2013 > Panelist Jai Templeton

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Lab for Sustainable Business and Development

246 Jessie Harris Building
Knoxville, TN USA 37996-1911

Phone: 865.974.0505

Jai Templeton
Deputy Commissioner of Agriculture
State of Tennessee

Jai Templeton oversees day-to-day operations, directing programs and services ranging from food safety, animal and plant health, pesticides and consumer protection to forestry and agricultural development. Prior to joining the department in June 2011, he served as mayor of McNairy County, leading that county’s successful efforts to reduce debt and increase fund balances without raising taxes during the economic recession. He is a sixth generation farmer producing grain, cotton, hay, timber and cattle.

As county mayor, Templeton also served on the UT Martin-McNairy County Center Advisory Board, the West Tennessee Railroad Authority, the West Tennessee River Basin Authority, the Southwest Tennessee Development District Executive Board and Southwest Tennessee Human Resources Agency Board.

He is a former county commissioner and former president of the McNairy County Chamber of Commerce, where he helped form the McNairy County Regional Alliance to focus on economic development in the area.

From 1995 to 2003, he served as a field representative for former U.S. Representative Ed Bryant, covering the rural portion of Tennessee’s Seventh Congressional District. He also served as a delegate to the 2004 Republican National Convention.

He has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Union University in Jackson, Tenn., and he is a graduate of Weststar, Leadership McNairy County and AgStar professional development programs.

He is a member of the 25 Farmer Network, a pilot effort to grow new and alternative crops to support the development of value-added markets in the Mid-South.

He is a member of the McNairy-Chester County Cattlemen’s Association, the McNairy County Forestry Landowner’s Association, the Tennessee Farm Bureau, the Mid-South Farmer’s Co-op, the Stantonville Ruritan Club and a former board member of the Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association.

He and his wife, Allison, and their children, Mycaela, Canon and Eliza Smith, reside on a family farm in Stantonville, Tenn. and attend the First Baptist Church of Adamsville.

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picture of Jai Templeton