NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee has a new state conservationist.

State officials say the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Sheldon L. Hightower is replacing Kevin Brown as the eighth state conservationist to serve in Tennessee. Brown retired in January 2018.

Hightower will oversee 72 USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Field Service Centers across the state. The state conservationist also oversees more than 180 employees and a budget of about $75 million in federal conservation aid to Tennessee farmers and producers.

Prior to his selection, Hightower was an assistant state conservationist in Hutchinson, Kansas, where he served 28 counties.