Harlan Named Assistant Commissioner for Market Development
NASHVILLE – Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson today announced the appointment of veteran TDA employee Ed Harlan as assistant commissioner for Market Development.
Harlan has served as director of agriculture and forestry development for the department since 2003. He succeeds Joe Gaines who retired in February after serving 43 years in state government.
“Ed brings a unique perspective to this position as a farmer, businessman and former county executive. He is highly respected and well known throughout the state because of his agribusiness development efforts,” Johnson said. “I’m pleased that he has accepted this expanded role in helping us grow our food and fiber industry.”
As assistant commissioner, Harlan is responsible for directing marketing, promotion and development activities. He is also responsible for overseeing the Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program and Pick Tennessee Products, TDA’s promotional campaign to help consumers identify locally grown and processed products.
During Harlan’s time at TDA, he has developed strategic plans to expand current business and grow new business within Tennessee’s agriculture sector and established close working relationships with agencies and businesses statewide to ensure greatest cooperation and customer service. His efforts over the past few years have contributed to an increase in corporate and on-farm investments in Tennessee.
Before joining TDA, Harlan served as the county executive for Maury County from 1994 to 2002. He developed and administered a $61 million annual government budget and supervised a total county workforce of 386 people.
Harlan’s roots are in agriculture. He was owner and operator of Harlan Farms in Columbia from 1975 to 1994. He managed a large diversified agricultural production business including dairy, burley tobacco, row crops and niche products on farmland owned by the Harlan family for five generations.