Carol Coley McDonald, Assistant Commissioner for Policy and Legislation


Carol Coley McDonald serves as the department's liaison to the Tennessee General Assembly and directs policy and program development in areas ranging from food safety, pesticides, and consumer protection to forestry and agricultural development. She also promotes suicide prevention and awareness resources to Tennessee’s agriculture community and supports agricultural youth programs such as FFA, 4-H, Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers, and more.

McDonald is a graduate of the Tennessee Government Executive Institute. Prior to joining the department in 2011, she served as an Extension agent in Smith County, coordinating 4-H activities. She has also worked in education and has extensive experience in agribusiness as a former owner and partner of Catesa Farms, a large diversified livestock and row crop operation, and C&G Seeds, a seed and chemicals dealer in Riddleton, Tenn.

McDonald previously worked for the department as a statistician, collecting information on farm production in multiple counties for the Census of Agriculture.

She has a bachelor's degree in Animal Science from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and has been recognized by UT Extension with numerous honors including Outstanding 4-H Youth Development Agent and Outstanding Agent. She is also a recipient of the Tennessee Farm Bureau's Young Farmers & Ranchers Outstanding Young Woman Award.

McDonald grew up on a family farm in Macon County where they raised purebred Hereford cattle for forty years. She lives in Carthage and is an active member of the Carthage United Methodist Church. She serves on the Smith County Fair board and was instrumental in re-establishing the fair in 2008.

She has two daughters, Celia and Sarah, and five grandchildren.