In 1950, the Tennessee Sheep Breeders Association held its annual ram sale. It was described in documents as the 30th sale. Therefore, it is likely that there was an organization called the Tennessee Sheep Breeders Association as early as 1920 with a primary purpose of conducting an annual ram sale for its members. Annual TSPA Meeting in Lebanon 2007.
In 1955, the membership of the Tennessee Sheep Breeders Association, under the leadership of its president, A.Carter Myers from Knoxville, and the Extension Sheep Specialist, Fred C. Powell, determined that the organization should be incorporated by the state of Tennessee. The necessary documents were prepared and included the Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws. The seven incorporators were A. Carter Myers, J.W. Carpenter, J.W. Shouse, J.W. Bond, W.N. Orr, Jr., Thomas McFarland and Alvie Curtis. At that time the name of the organization changed to the Tennessee Purebred Sheep Breeders Association. Documents on file from this time include a letter from Mr. Myers to Fred Powell and a list of the members of the association. Becoming a member of the organization at this time required approval from the board of directors.
The purposes of the association as stated in the Articles of Incorporation were:
A) To encourage and promote the sheep industry in the State of Tennessee.
B) To work with the University of Tennessee and the Tennessee Livestock Association in studying problems and making recommendations relative to research and education as they pertain to the sheep industry of Tennessee.
C) To encourage and to conduct sales of sheep and sheep products belonging to members of the association, and, as agent for the members, to exact and collect from members of the association selling their sheep and sheep products at such sales, the necessary expenses of such sales, but without any profit to the association; and with authority to require the payment of dues by members of the association, same to be used in connection with the necessary expenses of the association; and to make and establish such by-laws, rules and regulations as may be necessary for all of such purposes.
D) To do all other lawful and proper acts relative to promoting welfare of the association as it pertains to the sheep industry in Tennessee.
Around 1980, the name was changed to the Tennessee Sheep Producers Association and the number of directors was increased from seven to nine. The Tennessee Junior Sheep Producers Association was organized in the mid-1980’s. The first president was a young man named Thomas Powell.
What started out as an organization to conduct purebred ram sales for its members has evolved into a more dynamic organization. While it still conducts a sale of sheep and wool for its members, the group also represents the entire sheep industry, including purebred breeders, commercial producers, club lamb producers, and hair sheep producers. TSPA represents these segments of the industry in state and national matters through its membership in the American Sheep Industry Association. The promotion of 4-H and FFA sheep projects has also become a major thrust. The sale conducted annually by TSPA now includes market lambs, commercial ewes, and purebred sheep. The wool pool once conducted by the Wilson County Farm Bureau is now conducted by TSPA for its members. The first state Junior Sheep Field Day was conducted in Wilson County on the Robert Powell farm.