2014 Ag Enhancement Program Application Period Set

Thursday, May 01, 2014 | 06:36 am

- Livestock Working Facility Covers and Used Equipment Added -

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Agriculture has set June 1 – 7 as the application period for the 2014 Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program.

“Governor Haslam recognizes the importance of the Ag Enhancement program to farmers and has once again fully funded the program, with the support of the Tennessee General Assembly,” Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson said. “As we enter the 10th year of the program, we are utilizing online services and broadening our project offerings to reach more farmers than ever before.”

Farmers will have the opportunity to apply online again this year, or they can submit paper applications, which must be postmarked between June 1 and June 7. Through TAEP, farmers can qualify for 35 or 50 percent cost share, ranging from a maximum of $1,200 to $15,000 depending on the project. Funding in 2014 will continue to be approved based on applicant determined priorities.

According to program administrator Mark Powell, there are several notable changes this year including the addition of Livestock Working Facility Covers. “We’ve spent a lot of time and money helping farmers purchase newer, safer equipment for working their livestock. It just makes sense to help them protect that investment and improve safety by offering to fund a cover for livestock working areas,” Powell said. This new category allows producers to add a shed or barn to cover their livestock equipment at a maximum $3,500 cost share amount.

Also new, producers can now qualify for cost share assistance on the purchase of specified used equipment as long as it is in excellent condition, has no excessive rust, is of functional soundness and has a reasonable market price. Powell says this offering is particularly important for helping farmers stretch their budgets at a time when net farm income is expected to be down.

Instructions for accessing TAEP Online accounts and applying for 2014 funds are listed at www.tn.gov/taep as well as outlined in the printed applications. Producers are to use Application A for Livestock Equipment, Working Facility Covers, Genetics, Hay, Grain and Feed Storage.

A separate Application B for Producer Diversification is available this year and can be submitted online or mailed. Producer Diversification assists farmers with investments in agritourism, fruits and vegetables, honey bees, horticulture, organics and value-added products. Applications are competitively evaluated by industry sector. 

In other program updates, producers are now restricted to a maximum of four lifetime hay storage project reimbursements. Under Genetics, EPD requirements for bulls are not expected until July and will be posted online as soon as they are available, and the eligibility of sheep and goats genetics can now be based on physical examination rather than a breeding soundness exam.

Producers with livestock on their farm will still need to register their premises with TDA at http://www.tennessee.gov/agriculture/forms/tpissignup.pdf  or by calling 615-837-5120.

Applications are available at most farm agencies including USDA Farm Service Agency, UT Extension and Farm Bureau offices, as well as most farm supply stores. To ensure accuracy, producers are encouraged to work with their local extension agent or local TDA representative when completing the application.

Producers can get more information and updates on the program by calling 1-800-342-8206. For more information or to download an application, visit www.TN.gov/taep.