The Putnam County Soil Conservation District

The Beginning

The Putnam County Soil Conservation District, organized under the provisions of the Tennessee SCD Enabling Act of 1939, officially became a soil conservation district on February 19, 1941, following a referendum in which 322 landowners voted for and 16 against the organization.

The referendum was held at four polling places, namely Double Springs, Cookeville, Baxter, and Twin Oak communities.

Prior to the referendum, a petition signed by local landowners was submitted to the State Soil Conservation Committee on October 2, 1940, requesting authority to hold a referendum. Also, public hearings were held at Cookeville on November 9, 1940, in keeping with state statutes.

Following the favorable vote for the formation of the Putnam County Soil Conservation District, local agriculture leaders submitted recommendations to the State Soil Conservation Committee to appoint two supervisors. On December 12, 1940, Mr. Asher Lafever of Twin Oak Community and Mr. B. M. Lee of Shaw Branch Community were officially named. They requested and received a Certificate of Organization from the Tennessee Secretary of State.

Following the appointment of the two supervisors by the state committee, an election was held on December 28, 1940, to elect three supervisors. Appearing on the ballot were L. B. Bohannon, H. D. McCulley, Everette Rippetoe, Lem Plunkett, W. E. Webster, and J. N. McCloud.

Under the provisions of Public Law 46, the Soil Conservation Service, a federal agency of the United States Department of Agriculture, assigned R. N. Jobe, Soil Conservationist, to work in the new district.

The first meeting of the newly formed Board of Supervisors was held on February 21, 1941, at the courthouse in Cookeville. At this first meeting they elected officers of the board as follows:

  1. Asher Lafever, Chairman
  2. J. N. McCloud, Vice-Chairman
  3. Lem Plunkett, Secretary-Treasurer
  4. B. M. Lee, Member
  5. Everette Rippetoe, Member

SCS officials attending included: J. W. Morrison, District Conservationist, R. N. Jobe, Soil Conservationist, and John Patton, SCS Technician.

Other business conducted included signing of a Memorandum of Understanding and Supplemental Memorandum of Understanding between the District and the SCS.

The first long-range plan for the District was developed during February, 1941.