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Thank you again, Mr. Nixon



Kenneth Nixon is joined by his wife, Linda, at their farm in Carthage, where 200 acres of row crops and 45 acres of burley tobacco are grown. Married for 55 years, the Nixons have three children — sons Joey and Mike, who farm with their father, and daughter Stacy — and five grandchildren.
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For nearly three decades — an unprecedented record of longevity — Kenneth Nixon of Carthage has given his time and talents to Tennessee Farmers Cooperative’s board of directors. This amazing run of service speaks volumes about the respected Smith County tobacco and row-crop farmer’s commitment to the Co-op and the confidence his fellow farmer owners have in Mr. Nixon’s ability to help lead their ever-evolving 72-year-old farm supply cooperative.

As a testament to his leadership qualities, the 2017 TFC annual meeting was the fourth in which Mr. Nixon has presided as board chairman, following up prior stints in 1992, 2006, and 2014. He’s also served as vice chairman on five occasions: 1991, 2004, 2005, 2013, and 2016.

Mr. Nixon, a longtime member of Smith Farmers Co-op, was first elected to TFC’s eight-member board in 1986. He finished that seven-year term in 1992. Twice, from 1992-98, TFC directors elected Mr. Nixon to three-year terms as the board’s only public director. Then, in 1999, delegates returned him to office for another seven-year term as District 5 representative. Since 2008, he’s served as a Zone 2 director.

Impressive credentials, for certain.

In his address to the membership during the annual meeting business session on Nov. 27, Mr. Nixon capably demonstrated why he is revered in the Co-op system by delivering a powerful, poignant presentation. He challenged those in attendance to look “Beyond the Horizon” in preparing for the changing dynamics to come in the agriculture industry.

He cited three basic, common-sense factors that have made the Co-op system successful for more than 70 years and urged members not to stray from them to keep the system strong: sound business practices, hard work, and cooperation.

“As we move into the future and concentrate on growing our business and continuing to make it successful, we must keep cooperation top of mind,” he said. “We may be located in different parts of the state — some even out of state — with different areas of specialization when it comes to agriculture, but we’re all alike in that we see the far-reaching impact of the Co-op.”

It was fitting that later in the business session, fellow director Mark Thompson of Cumberland Gap presented Mr. Nixon a plaque of recognition and appreciation from “this board and the Co-op farmer members we represent across Tennessee and surrounding states.”

“Kenneth’s always said that to be an effective board member, you have to be committed to the Co-op system and willing to devote the time and effort to do a good job,” Thompson said. “He’s definitely backed up those words through the years.”

In an emotion-filled closing to his annual meeting address, Mr. Nixon thanked his family for their support and encouragement — especially his wife of 55 years, Linda — and borrowed from legendary baseball announcer Vin Scully to drive home the warm feelings he has about his years of Co-op involvement:

“Vin once eloquently said, ‘God gave us memories so we can have roses in December.’ I certainly have a treasure trove of fond memories thanks to the Co-op system. Many of you in this room have been a part of those. There’s no better group of people on earth, in my opinion.”

Here’s a rose to you, Mr. Nixon. Thank you for your unparalleled service to Co-op. — Chris Villines

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