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

Governor Bill Lee presented Jill Johnson, DVM of the Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA), with the Governor’s Distinguished Service Award for outstanding service to the state and her fellow Tennessees.

Dr. Johnson is an animal health veterinarian who serves 13 Middle Tennessee counties. She joined TDA as a field vet in 2003. Prior to that, Dr. Johnson was Coffee County’s first female veterinarian, working in private practice for 16 years in Manchester, Tenn.

“Dr. Johnson’s years of experience, coupled with her willingness to help solve any problem related to animal agriculture, make her invaluable to our department and the citizens she serves,” the commissioner told agriculture Charlie Hatcher, DVM “Her instincts are strong and she has made a significant contribution to TDA’s animal health mission.”

“I and the Animal Health Division staff trust Dr. Johnson’s advice and perspective,” said state veterinarian Dr. Samantha Beaty. “His knowledge of the industry is vast. Whether she’s working with a backyard poultry owner, cattle rancher, Agricultural Crime Unit special agent, or extension officer, she has the expertise to adapt to the situation.

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

While performing routine duties as a veterinarian, Dr. Johnson often trains her colleagues in the federal and state veterinary services. Sharing his knowledge and experience expands the resources available to breeders. Additionally, it connects law enforcement with animal resources to help care for and house animals seized during animal welfare investigations.

“The work associated with protecting animal health is continually changing and that makes it interesting,” said Dr Johnson. “Having the opportunity to collaborate with so many people in the agriculture industry is rewarding. I strive to be an asset to the TDA Animal Health Division team and beyond.

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

Boyd S. Abbott