Members of the Lacy Upchurch family were on hand for the dedication of the livestock show ring at the Cumberland County Community Complex Aug. 21. From left are Colt and Bailey Lewis, Scott VanWinlke, Paul Thompson, Christie Vanwinkle, Amelia Lewis, Kay Upchurch and Gregg Upchurch, with Will Lewis in front.

Lacy Upchurch was known to many as a farmer, a friend of agriculture and a supporter of youth programs like the youth livestock competitions at the Cumberland County Fair.

As the 2021 Cumberland County Fair got underway Aug. 21, family and friends gathered as the arena at the Cumberland County Community Complex livestock barn was dedicated in his memory.

“Lacy loved to promote the youth of Cumberland County,” said David Beaty. “He loved working with the kids and seeing them excel.

“And he was just a natural farmer — grapes, hogs, cattle.”

Upchurch passed away in Oct. 19, 2018, at the age of 72. 

He grew up in nearby Jamestown where he was active in 4-H and FFA. After graduating from the University of Tennessee in 1967 with undergraduate and graduate degrees in agriculture and animal science, he worked at the UT Agricultural Extension Service in Madison County before transferring to Cumberland County as the 4-H agent, adult agricultural agent and county director. 

In 1977, he left Extension and pursued farming full time, raising hogs and cattle. He was active in state organizations including the Tennessee Livestock Producers, Tennessee Pork Producers and Tennessee Farm Bureau. 

He served as the president of the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation from 2005 to 2015, representing more than 650,000 members.

Son Gregg Upchurch said, “Dad always wanted to put back in the community. He would be proud to see the number of kids here today.”

Gregg Upchurch said the recognition embodied what makes Cumberland County a special place to live — people who come together to help others.

“He would want to recognize the parents and everyone who works to improve the lives of these kids,” he said.

Heather Mullinix is editor of the Crossville Chronicle. She covers schools and education in Cumberland County. She may be reached at

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