Tennessee Soil and Water Conservation Commission / Soil and Water Conservation Districts

Soil Conservation Seal

The State Soil and Water Conservation Commission, Tennessee Code Annotated §43-14-201 through 216, provides oversight and assistance to soil and water conservation districts in carrying out programs directed towards soil erosion control and water quality improvement on farmland.

Its statutory duties include appointing two supervisors to the governing board of each soil and water conservation district and establishing procedure for the local election of three other supervisors to each district’s governing board, offering assistance to the supervisors of soil and water conservation districts in carrying out their programs and powers, coordinating the programs of the soil and water conservation districts and encouraging cooperation among them. The Commission further serves to advise the Commissioner of Agriculture on agricultural matters.

The Commission meets four times a year, mostly in conjunction with state-wide agricultural events.  All meetings comply with Public Chapter 442, the “Sunshine Law”, requiring public notices of meetings.

The Governor appoints Commission members. Their terms are for three years, with eligibility for reappointment.  According to statute, there are to be one farmer and one soil and water conservation district supervisor from each grand division of the state, and one member at large.

The current Commission is as follows:

  • Pal Neal, (Chair) SWCD Supervisor from Middle TN. 
  • Eric Dupree, farmer from West TN. 
  • Tommy Surber, SWCD Supervisor from West TN.
  • Vacant, farmer from Middle TN. 
  • Don Holbert, farmer from East TN. 
  • Dwight King, SWCD Supervisor from East TN.
  • Ricky Essary, SWCD Supervisor at-large

Ex-Officio Members:

  • Charlie Hatcher, D.V.M., Commissioner, TN Department of Agriculture
  • David Salyers, P.E., Commissioner, TN Department of Environment and Conservation
  • Dr. Carrie Castille, Vice Chancellor, Sr. Vice President, UT Institute of Agriculture
  • Jim Bledsoe, President, Tennessee Association of Conservation Districts

For more information, contact John McClurkan, Land & Water Stewardship Section Administrator, at John.Mcclurkan@tn.gov or 615-837-5305.