Dr. Jill Johnson, Animal Health Veterinary Medical Officer, Recognized by Governor Bill Lee for Excellence in Service


Governor Bill Lee has recognized Jill Johnson, D.V.M. of the Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA) with the Governor’s Excellence in Service Award for exceptional service to the state and her fellow Tennesseans.

Dr. Johnson is an Animal Health Veterinary Medical Officer serving 13 Middle Tennessee counties. She joined TDA as a field staff veterinarian in 2003. Before that, Dr. Johnson was the first female veterinarian in Coffee County, working in a private practice for 16 years in Manchester, Tenn.

“Dr. Johnson’s years of experience, coupled with her willingness to help with any issue related to animal agriculture, make her invaluable to our department and to the citizens she serves,” Agriculture Commissioner Charlie Hatcher, D.V.M. said. “Her instincts are strong, and she’s made significant contributions to TDA’s Animal Health mission.”

“The Animal Health Division staff and I trust Dr. Johnson’s counsel and perspective,” State Veterinarian Dr. Samantha Beaty said. “Her knowledge of the industry is far-reaching. Whether she’s working with a backyard poultry owner, a livestock producer, an Agricultural Crime Unit special agent, or an Extension agent, she has the expertise to suit the situation.”

Dr. Johnson is highly skilled in working with disease testing and surveillance and she’s filled a critical need during foreign animal disease investigations in the state. Last year in Memphis, Dr. Johnson oversaw the initial epidemiological investigation and follow-up testing of race horses diagnosed with piroplasmosis and equine infectious anemia. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Johnson assisted the Tennessee Department of Health with performing epidemiological follow-ups with persons who tested positive for the disease.

While she’s performing routine Veterinary Medical Officer tasks, Dr. Johnson is often training fellow state and federal veterinary services colleagues. Sharing her knowledge and experience expands the resources available to livestock producers. Additionally, she connects law enforcement with animal resources to help care for and house animals seized during animal welfare investigations.

“Work associated with protecting animal health is continually changing and that keeps it interesting,” Dr. Johnson said. “Having the opportunity to collaborate with many people in the ag industry is fulfilling. I strive to be an asset to the TDA Animal Health division team and beyond.”

Dr. Johnson earned her associate of science degree in pre-veterinary studies from Motlow State Community College and received her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Dr. Johnson raises Polled Hereford cattle in Coffee County. Her farm is recognized as a Tennessee Century Farm and has been in Dr. Johnson’s family for five generations.


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