Outstanding Fairs Honored at 93rd Annual Convention

Thursday, January 29, 2015 | 11:05 am

NASHVILLE—Tennessee Department of Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson recently presented awards to the state’s top county, regional and state agricultural fairs.

“Fairs are a tradition in the agricultural industry and showcase the best our farms, farmers and communities have to offer,” Johnson said. “Our Tennessee fairs have a positive impact on local economies as well as the agriculture contributions and education that they provide to visitors.” 

More than 975 people attended the Fairs Merit Awards recognition dinner program during the Convention of the Tennessee Association of Fairs (TAF) held January 22-25, 2015 in Nashville. 

Public Advisory for Undeclared Allergen

Tuesday, January 27, 2015 | 04:53 pm

NASHVILLE—The Tennessee Department of Agriculture is issuing a public advisory for an undeclared peanut allergen in 5 oz. containers of Pride of Szeged Hungarian Spice paprika, distributed by Spice Co. of Avenel, N.J. 

On Jan. 12, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture conducted routine retail food product sampling in the Cleveland, Tenn. area. The department’s test results for one product—5 oz. containers of Pride of Szeged Hungarian Spice paprika, no. 091617PAHU05PS —showed positive for the presence of a peanut allergen not disclosed on the product label.  

Applications Now Available for Industrial Hemp Production

Monday, January 26, 2015 | 03:13 pm

NASHVILLE— The Tennessee Department of Agriculture is now accepting applications from farmers and producers interested in growing industrial hemp. 

In 2013, the Tennessee General Assembly enacted Public Chapter 916 tasking the department with development of a licensing and inspection program for the production of industrial hemp in Tennessee. As provided in Sec. 7606 of the 2014 Farm Bill, industrial hemp may only be grown as part of a research or pilot project.

Industrial hemp is Cannabis sativa L., the same plant species as marijuana. However, industrial hemp has significantly lower tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content and is distinguished by its use and chemical makeup. You will find industrial hemp in a variety of products, including fabric, textiles, fibers, and foods. More than 30 nations grow industrial hemp as an agricultural commodity.

Stay Warm This Winter with the Right Firewood

Tuesday, January 20, 2015 | 11:33 am

NASHVILLE– Burning firewood is a good option to keep your home warm through the winter months. The Tennessee Department of Agriculture advises consumers to consider the type of wood, its origin and quantity before making that purchase.

“Firewood is sold all over the state by vendors operating at varying levels – from large-volume vendors selling to commercial retailers like grocery and convenience stores, to smaller mom and pop operations selling firewood along the roadside,” said Jere Jeter, State Forester and Assistant Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry. “It is in the consumers’ best interest to educate themselves to make sure they get the best product for their money.” 

Wood varieties burn differently and produce differing amounts of heat. For example, oak burns more slowly and produces less smoke compared to pine. Determine the type of wood that will best serve your needs.

Qualifications Updated for TAEP Continuing Education

Thursday, January 08, 2015 | 03:37 pm

NASHVILLE—With an eye to enhancing the state’s agricultural industry and increasing farmers’ capacity to produce, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture is encouraging farmers to continue their education through University of Tennessee Extension.

“Learning is critical to improving and advancing Tennessee agriculture,” Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson said. “These educational opportunities help producers to maximize efficiency in their operations and assure that best practices will be used to the benefit of the entire industry.”

Producers who wish to qualify for 50 percent cost share funding through the Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program (TAEP) can fulfill educational requirements by participating in UT advanced continuing education opportunities.

Tennessee Pest Control Licensing and Advisory Board to Meet

Monday, January 05, 2015 | 03:17 pm

NASHVILLE- The Tennessee Pest Control Licensing and Advisory Board will meet Jan. 12 at 9:30 a.m. CST in the conference room of the Porter Building at Ellington Agricultural Center, 436 Hogan Rd, Nashville, Tenn. The agenda includes a review and approval of minutes and special licensing requests. The meeting is open to the public.

Tennessee Beef Promotion Board to Meet

Monday, January 05, 2015 | 03:13 pm

NASHVILLE– The Tennessee Beef Promotion Board will meet Jan. 22 at 1 p.m. CST at the Tennessee Beef Industry Council located at 530 Brandies Circle Suite A in Murfreesboro, Tenn. The agenda includes a review and approval of minutes, review of board finances, a program update and an audit review.

The meeting is open to the public.  Individuals interested in addressing the board should plan to arrive prior to noon in order to be placed on the agenda.

Statewide Partnership Announced To Boost Tennessee Beef Industry

Tuesday, December 16, 2014 | 01:59 pm
Beef heifer program site in Lewisburg
Beef heifer program site in Lewisburg

UTIA, TDA and Tennessee Farmers Co-op launch effort to assist state's producers

KNOXVILLE – In a joint effort to rebuild a declining Tennessee beef herd, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture and Tennessee Farmers Cooperative have announced a unique public-private partnership. UTIA will make room at its Dairy AgResearch and Education Center in Lewisburg for 100 beef heifers consigned by farmers from across Tennessee for a development program with the goal of increasing cattle numbers in the state.

Nationally, Tennessee has dropped from ninth in beef cattle production to 13th in the past two years due in part to a decrease in the state’s herd caused by economic and weather-related factors. Currently, the state hosts about 864,000 beef cows. The goal of the new Tennessee Beef Heifer Development Program is to increase that number, which is consistent with the recommendations of the Governor’s Rural Challenge.

Marion County Now Buffer Regulated for Thousand Cankers Disease

Friday, November 21, 2014 | 11:32 am
Walnut tree infected with Thousand Cankers Disease
Walnut tree infected with Thousand Cankers Disease

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Agriculture today announced the discovery of Walnut Twig Beetles, which transmit Thousand Cankers Disease (TCD), a walnut tree killing disease in Marion County. The county is now buffer regulated. Citizens in buffer counties can move walnut tree products and hardwood firewood within buffer counties, but not outside. Products can also be moved into a quarantine county, but not taken back out.

In addition to Marion County, Bledsoe, Campbell, Claiborne, Cocke, Cumberland, Fentress, Grainger, Greene, Hamblen, Hamilton, McMinn, Meigs, Monroe, Polk, Roane, Scott, and Sequatchie are also considered buffer regulated counties because the Walnut Twig Beetle was found or they are adjacent to a quarantined county. Bradley County is also in the buffer regulated category because it is surrounded by other buffer regulated counties.

“We will continue to survey for the Walnut Twig Beetle and Thousand Cankers Disease   to help slow the spread of the disease,” said TDA Plant Certification administrator Gray Haun. “We are working with stakeholders to help educate citizens on the symptoms of TCD and how they can help.”