Governor Elect Bill Lee has named MTSU alumnus Dr. Charles "Charlie" Hatcher to the governor's cabinet as commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Agriculture.
The College Grove Blue Raider said, "It's a little bit overwhelming I'm so humbled and honored to be chosen by the governor-elect. He's a farmer and I'm a farmer, too, and I plan on executing his (Lee's) vision for agriculture for the state of Tennessee. ... I'm up to the task."
Hatcher is a 10th generation farmer and general managing partner of Williamson County-based Hatcher Family Dairy, which was established in 1831.
Governor Elect Lee commented, "Charlie brings tremendous perspective about our state's rural resources and agricultural way of life. What happens in rural Tennessee matters to all Tennesseans and Charlie has the experience to carry out the administration's key priorities in agriculture and rural economic development."
Hatcher (Class of 1980) earned his bachelor's degree in animal science from MTSU, which he calls "a wonderful university. The education and background served me well. ... It was close (to home) and affordable. I loved my educational experience there."
More than 25 years later, Hatcher and the family dairy formed a "great partnership" with his alma mater, working with Tim Redd, the farm lab director, and then-School of Agriculture Director Warren Gill on a pilot marketing program that led to the establishing of Hatcher Family Dairy in 2007.
MTSU School of Agriculture Director Jessica Carter noted, "We partnered with Hatcher Family Dairy on their initial milk bottling project and they have hosted several classes at their farm for tours, including agritourism, dairy production, milk processing and marketing courses.
She continued, "I am optimistic that we will continue to have strong support from the Department of Agriculture with Dr. Hatcher serving in this position."
Carter said a strong agriculture-based relationship already was in place with Jai Templeton, the current commissioner under Gov. Bill Haslam.