Agriculture

It’s a Fall Fest—But East Nashville Farmers Market Shows Off Summer’s Best

Monday, September 22, 2014 | 04:04 pm

NASHVILLE - “Don’t skip the very best time of year to visit farmers markets,” says Amy Tavalin, farmers markets specialist with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture.

“From now until the first hard freeze is easily the most abundant season of the year in Tennessee,” Tavalin said. “We have a long growing season, so not only are all of summer’s favorites enjoying a last hurrah, but everything from fresh apples to Indian corn is elbowing into farmers market aisles across the state. Fresh, local “summer” produce will be here right along with everybody’s fall favorites until sometime in October.”

This Wednesday, Sept. 24, Pick Tennessee Products will host a fall produce media day at the East Nashville Farmers Market’s new location in Shelby Park from 3:30 p.m. until 7 p.m. Participating media can interview farmers and area officials in attendance, get footage and photographs of visitors and receive a “goody bag” including digital images and information about local foods and farms.

National Farm Safety and Health Week Promotes Awareness of Safety Solutions Year Round

Monday, September 22, 2014 | 12:47 pm

NASHVILLE – Farmers are at very high risk for fatal and non-fatal injuries while on the job. In fact, Tennessee is among the top six states for deaths due to tractor accidents in agricultural work, according to data from the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health. During National Farm Safety and Health Week this September, the Department of Health joins the Department of Agriculture in raising awareness of the risks of farming accidents and ways to save lives through prevention.

“Farm injuries are especially prevalent during harvest season as farmers are working long hours and dealing with the additional stress of unpredictable weather and equipment problems,” Tennessee Department of Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson said. “We appreciate the opportunity to join with the Tennessee Department of Health in promoting safe and healthy practices on our farms and the rural roadways of Tennessee.”

The occupational fatality rate for farmers is 700 percent higher than other U.S. industries, including mining. During 2009-2012, an average of 17 fatalities from agricultural tractor accidents was reported in Tennessee every year. Engineering advancements made to tractors and other farm equipment have helped reduce injuries and deaths – but only when they are used properly.

Slow Down for Fall - and Wine - at Knoxville’s Market Square Farmers Market

Thursday, September 18, 2014 | 10:28 am

KNOXVILLE - “Don’t skip the very best time of year to visit farmers markets,” says Amy Tavalin, farmers markets specialist with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture.

“From now until the first hard freeze is easily the most abundant season of the year in Tennessee,” says Tavalin. “We have a long growing season, so not only are all of summer’s favorites enjoying a last hurrah, but everything from fresh apples to Indian corn is elbowing into farmers market aisles across the state. Fresh, local produce will be here until sometime in October.”

This Saturday, September 20, Pick Tennessee Products will host a fall produce media day at the Market Square Farmers Market in Knoxville. Participating media can interview farmers and area officials in attendance, get footage and photographs of visitors and receive a “goody bag” including digital images and information about local foods and farms.

On Your Mark, Get Set— and Slow Down for Fall

Wednesday, September 10, 2014 | 01:48 pm

NASHVILLE -- It’s September, and Christmas décor is lining store shelves. You’d think that the seasons are determined by which week school starts, and we’d all be wise to air out our winter coats now.

Amy Tavalin suggests that instead, we should stop the hands of time long enough to take in some local farmers markets this fall. “Fall has it all,” says Tavalin, “so don’t rush it.” 

“Don’t skip the very best time of year to visit farmers markets,” says Tavalin, farmers market specialist with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture. “From now until the first hard freeze is easily the most abundant season of the year in Tennessee. We have a long growing season, so not only are all of summer’s favorites enjoying a last hurrah, but everything from fresh apples and chrysanthemums to sweet potatoes and Indian corn will be elbowing into farmers market aisles across the state.”

On Your Mark, Get Set — and Slow Down for Fall

Monday, September 08, 2014 | 03:08 pm

CHATTANOOGA -- It’s September, and Christmas décor is lining store shelves. You’d think that the seasons are determined by which week school starts, and we’d all be wise to air out our winter coats now.

Amy Tavalin suggests that instead, we should stop the hands of time long enough to visit Chattanooga’s Main Street Farmers Market on Wednesday, Sept. 10 from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m. when Pick Tennessee Products will host a fall produce media day.

Tavalin, farmers markets specialist with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, says, “Don’t skip the very best time of year to visit farmers markets. From now until the first hard freeze is easily the most abundant season of the year in Tennessee. We have a long growing season, so not only are all of summer’s favorites enjoying a last hurrah, but everything from fresh apples to Indian corn will be elbowing into farmers market aisles across the state.”

TDA Now Accepting Water Quality Grant Proposals

Monday, September 08, 2014 | 11:42 am

-Funds support projects aimed at improving water quality and reducing pollution-

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Agriculture is now accepting grant proposals for projects that will help improve water quality and reduce or eliminate nonpoint source pollution. The deadline for submitting grant proposals is Dec. 1. Proposals will be evaluated based on program goals and objectives, performance evaluation criteria and applicable EPA nonpoint source grant guidelines.  

“This is a great opportunity for local governments and other organizations to join us in making measurable improvements in the quality of watersheds across the state,” Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson said. “The Nonpoint Source Pollution Program addresses water quality issues in both our urban and rural communities.”

Local governments, regional agencies, public institutions, private nonprofit organizations and other state agencies are eligible to apply for federal dollars administered by TDA’s Water Resources office. Highest priority is given to projects that seek to make measurable improvements to waters known to be impaired by nonpoint source pollution.

State Announces $100K Grant for Martin Farmers Market

Tuesday, September 02, 2014 | 01:59 pm

- Ag Enhancement Funds to Help Construct Pavilion, Expand Access to Local Products -

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Department of Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson today announced a $100,000 Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program grant to the city of Martin to help fund the construction of a new farmers market pavilion.

Johnson presented the grant to Mayor Randy Brundige during the Mayor’s Kickoff Luncheon at the annual Tennessee Soybean Festival at UT Martin. 

“On behalf of Gov. Bill Haslam, I’m happy to announce this grant to help the city build a farmers market pavilion to better serve the area’s needs,” Johnson said. “The grant is part of our efforts to increase economic activity in our rural communities by responding to the growth in and demand for Tennessee’s fresh and local farm products.”

Additional Tennessee Counties Quarantined for Emerald Ash Borer

Friday, August 29, 2014 | 01:55 pm

NASHVILLE – A quarantine for Emerald Ash Borer, an invasive insect that destroys ash trees has been expanded to include more Tennessee counties. Bradley, McMinn, Meigs and Polk counties have been added to the list of areas restricted for the movement of ash trees and ash tree products. EAB was recently found in McMinn and Polk counties and it is believed that EAB is also likely to be present in Bradley and Meigs counties. This brings the total number of Tennessee counties under a state and federal EAB quarantine to 38.

Over the past three years, the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and the Tennessee Department of Agriculture have regulated only the counties where at least one EAB specimen was detected. But because small EAB populations can sometimes go undetected, TDA is taking the precautionary measure of expanding the EAB quarantine to some counties without a positive detection where EAB is likely present. 

“We think it’s in the best interest of the state to quarantine locations where we believe EAB could be located even though we haven’t found it yet,” Gray Haun, TDA’s Plant Certification administrator said. “For example, Sullivan County and Washington County were placed under quarantine earlier this year because we suspected EAB was there and just recently we were able to confirm it.”

Tennessee Hemlock Conservation Partnership to Offer Assistance to Landowners

Monday, August 25, 2014 | 02:30 pm

- September 13 workshop will train landowners to protect hemlocks from invasive pest -

NASHVILLE – A small aphid-like insect has been devastating majestic hemlock trees in eastern Tennessee and the Cumberland Mountains. Treatments exist to protect these long-lived, tall evergreens. Now private landowners will have an opportunity to learn how to treat and protect their shady hemlock trees themselves.

The Tennessee Hemlock Conservation Partnership will teach the region’s private landowners how to obtain and apply the necessary chemical treatments to fight hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA), the insect that threatens hemlocks. A free workshop is scheduled for Saturday, September 13 at Fall Creek Falls State Park in Van Buren County. Treatment location at park and directions will be provided to all who register for the workshop.

“Many woodland owners I’ve talked to are very worried about the fate of their hemlock trees on their property. Our partnership is hopeful that we can provide the assistance that is needed for them to chemically treat and save their hemlocks until a long-term control is established,” Heather Slayton, Forest Health Unit Leader with the Tennessee Division of Forestry said.

Woodbury Market Proves That Schools May Be Open, But Summer’s Still Here

Thursday, August 14, 2014 | 02:24 pm

NASHVILLE -- Calendars and story books are filled with quaint pictures of school buses matched with autumn leaves and campfire scenes, but on Saturday, Aug. 16 the Cannon County Farmers Market in Woodbury will prove what every Tennessean ought to know: school may be back in session, but summer is far from over. August is actually the peak month for all types of produce, and the market will host a Pick Tennessee Products media day to show off its booths running over with the best of the summer season.

“When people head back to school, they often have the mindset that fall is here and miss the very best produce of the year,” Amy Tavalin, Pick Tennessee Products farmers market specialist with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture said. “This has been an especially mild, productive year for Tennessee farmers, and some crops that might in other years have wilted from excessive summer are still going strong. We’re trying to remind people that fresh, local produce will be here until our first hard freeze sometime in October.

“Cannon County’s market is a great example of the kind of variety now available from Tennessee’s popular farmers markets. Besides the traditional tomatoes, sweet corn, peppers, melons and beans of every hue, visitors to the Woodbury market are likely to find shitake mushrooms, maple syrup, herbs, nuts, honey, meat and eggs—all locally produced.”