MARTIN, Tenn. — The late Ed Jones, former 8th district congressman, left many lasting marks on Tennessee’s and the nation’s agriculture. For his accomplishments, Jones was honored in 2011, as he became only the 13th member of the Tennessee Agricultural Hall of Fame.
On Oct. 4, the University of Tennessee at Martin will honor this achievement with a reception and banquet as part of 2013 Homecoming Week. A reception is set for 5 p.m. in the Paul Meek Library where a replica of the congressman’s office is maintained and his congressional papers are held. A dinner and program will follow in the Duncan Ballroom of the Boling University Center. Retired U.S. Rep. John Tanner, who succeeded Jones, is the keynote speaker.
The event is open to the public at a cost of $25 per person. The reservation deadline is Sept. 27. Donations can also be made to the Ed Jones Gift Fund, which supports the university’s Ed and Llew Jones Distinguished Lecture Series. Registrations and donations can be made through the UT Martin Office of Development, 329 Hall-Moody Administration Building, Martin, TN 38238, or call 731-881-7620. Gifts to the lecture series fund can also be made online at www.utmforever.com/jones.
The original Ed Jones Distinguished Lecturer Series began in 1989 at the university as Tennessee Sen. Al Gore Jr. participated as the first lecturer. Jones actively supported the series until it ended in 1995. A lead gift of $12,500 in June from Farm Credit Mid-America was the first step toward endowing the lecture series, which will now also carry the congressman’s late wife’s name.
Jones, a Yorkville native, earned a two-year degree in 1932 from UT Junior College, predecessor to UT Martin, and a bachelor’s degree in 1934 from UT Knoxville. During his career, he served as a state dairy inspector, an agricultural agent for the Illinois Central Railroad, a farm radio host and was appointed Tennessee commissioner of agriculture under Gov. Gordon Browning. He is probably best known for his service from 1969-89 as U.S. representative, and he remained active in his family’s farm throughout his career.
While in Congress, Jones was a senior member of the House Committee on Agriculture during a time of change in the agriculture industry and the institutions that supported it. Notable events that occurred during his career were the Farm Strike and Tractorcade to Washington, D.C., in the late 1970s, the financial struggles of the Farm Credit System, the regulation of the futures market, and the transition of the soil and water conservation programs.
The Tennessee Agricultural Hall of Fame collection is maintained by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture at the Tennessee Agricultural Museum in Nashville.