Capitol Ag Day Has Tennessee Lawmakers Passing Saws Rather Than Laws | Nashville Public Radio

Capitol Ag Day Has Tennessee Lawmakers Passing Saws Rather Than Laws

Mar 12, 2019

It's not unusual for lobbyists and advocates to work the premises of the Tennessee state legislature, trying to win lawmakers over to their side.

But when the General Assembly holds its annual Ag Day on the Hill, it's the politicians who roll up their sleeves.

What for? This year, it was a crosscut saw contest between Gov. Bill Lee and the two chambers. That’s the sort of thing that happens when 4-Hers, future farmers and agriculture advocates converge on the capitol.

The annual advocacy day is organized by the Tennessee Farm Bureau and always aims to showcase lawmakers' knowledge — or lack thereof — of farming practices. The culmination is an annual contest of some sort. Past years have seen legislative leaders milking cows and shucking corn.

Tuesday's contest featured logging. Gov. Lee, who's described himself as a "third-generation cattleman" who still lives on his family farm, had to confess he'd never used a crosscut saw.

"I can do it by myself," Lee said. "I've never done it with a partner."

For those who have no idea what a crosscut saw contest is, picture this: There’s two people facing each other. There’s a log in the middle. And they have a long saw, which both of them push and pull until they cut through the log.

Lee faced a House team lead by Speaker Glen Casada, R-Franklin, and a Senate team led by state Sen. Mike Bell, a Riceville Republican and avid outdoorsman.

Who won? The governor’s team. They cut the log in 34.3 seconds, one second ahead of the Senate.