Agriculture

Tennessee Readies for Federal Livestock Traceability Rule

Tuesday, July 29, 2014 | 08:46 am

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Agriculture is stepping up efforts to educate livestock farmers about USDA’s final Animal Disease Traceability (ADT) rule that requires the identification of livestock being transported across state lines.

The rule, which went into effect last year, provides an effective manner of tracing the movement of livestock for animal disease protection and response says state veterinarian Charles Hatcher, DVM. 

“The federal rule only applies to livestock being moved interstate, but it’s important that Tennessee farmers work with their local veterinarian to obtain proper documentation,” Hatcher said. “We want to ensure that Tennessee farmers continue to have access to markets and that we can move quickly to limit the spread of a disease in the event of an outbreak.”

Seven Additional Tennessee Counties Quarantined for Emerald Ash Borer

Wednesday, July 23, 2014 | 04:14 pm

NASHVILLE – A quarantine for Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), an invasive insect that destroys ash trees, has been expanded to seven additional counties in Middle and East Tennessee. Clay, Fentress, Macon, Morgan, Overton, Pickett, and Rhea counties have been added to the list of areas restricted for the movement of ash trees and ash tree products. This brings the total number of Tennessee counties under a state and federal EAB quarantine to 34.

EAB has been confirmed in Fentress, Morgan, and Rhea counties. There has not been a positive detection of EAB in Clay, Macon, Overton, and Pickett counties, but due to the fact that small EAB populations can sometimes go undetected, TDA is also taking the precautionary measure of quarantining those counties as well.

“Because of the presence of EAB in nearby counties, there is a high likelihood that it is present in these counties as well, but so far has gone undetected,” Gray Haun, TDA’s Plant Certification administrator said. “We feel it is in the best interest of the state to go ahead and quarantine these areas.”

Haslam Announces $42K Grant for Franklin County Farmers Market

Monday, July 21, 2014 | 01:16 pm

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

NASHVILLE – Gov. Bill Haslam and the Tennessee Department of Agriculture today announced a $42,160 Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program grant to Franklin County to help fund the construction of a new farmers market pavilion. 

“I’m happy to announce this grant to help Franklin County construct a farmers market pavilion to better serve the area’s needs,” Haslam 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.”

The grant follows a recommendation to increase local marketing opportunities for Tennessee farmers as outlined in the Governor’s Rural Challenge: A 10-Year Strategic Plan. The plan was developed last year at the request of Haslam to guide the state’s agricultural development efforts.

Veteran or Beginner, Tennessee Peach Farmers Have Reason to Celebrate This Summer

Tuesday, July 15, 2014 | 08:37 am

NASHVILLE – Forgie’s Fruit Farm near Lewisburg is turning 20. Up north of Nashville near Springfield, a 25 year old farmer is just getting started in the orchard business. Both have good reason to celebrate this summer, though: peaches.

Tennessee’s climate doesn’t guarantee a peach crop every year. In fact, Tennessee spring frosts allow for a bumper peach crop just about once every five years, depending on where in the state the orchard is located. This year, most of Middle Tennessee just missed a capricious late freeze that damaged crops to the east but left orchards like Forgie’s and Red River Farm poised for a peachy summer.

Cooper Young Farmers Market Promotes Living Local, High Ideals at Media Day

Thursday, July 10, 2014 | 10:29 am

NASHVILLE – The Cooper Young Farmers Market offers its neighborhood more than booths offering fresh, local foods in a convenient location. A sense of community and practical applications of social ideals are also on display at the market, which will host a Pick Tennessee Products media day with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture on Saturday, July 12, from 9:00 a.m. until noon.

“Our market distinguishes itself in two ways,” market manager Caitlin Dupuigrenet said. “We are committed to food justice. We work very closely with the Food Justice Ministry out of First Congo, and donate most market leftovers to the food pantry. We also facilitate the implementation of the ‘double greens program,’ which matches up to $10 of EBT money to buy fresh produce, and we actively try to involve surrounding communities in need in our programs.”

The market, located at 1000 South Cooper Street in Memphis is also structured to be “very ‘vendor friendly’ in the sense that vendor input is highly valued, and vendors make up more than 25 percent of our board. We do our best to provide advice and resources if needed, and are available any day of the week to discuss issues or visit production sites,” Dupuigrenet said.

Haslam Announces $59K Grant for Bledsoe County/Pikeville Farmers Market

Tuesday, July 08, 2014 | 10:53 am
TDA's Ed Harlan with mayors Bobby Collier and Philip Cagle
TDA's Ed Harlan with mayors Bobby Collier and Philip Cagle

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

NASHVILLE – Gov. Bill Haslam and the Tennessee Department of Agriculture today announced a $59,200 Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program grant to Bledsoe County and the city of Pikeville to help fund the construction of a new farmers market pavilion. 

“I’m happy to announce this grant to help the county and city build a farmers market pavilion to better serve the area’s needs,” Haslam 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.”

The grant follows a recommendation to increase local marketing opportunities for Tennessee farmers as outlined in the Governor’s Rural Challenge: A 10-Year Strategic Plan. The plan was developed last year at the request of Haslam to guide the state’s agricultural development efforts.

Tennessee Pest Control Licensing and Advisory Board to Meet

Tuesday, July 08, 2014 | 10:09 am

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Pest Control Licensing and Advisory Board will meet July 14 at 9:30 a.m. CDT in the conference room at the Porter Building at Ellington Agricultural Center, located at 436 Hogan Rd. in Nashville, Tenn.

The agenda includes a review and approval of previous meeting minutes and consideration of individuals seeking licensure in special categories. The board will also recognize a new board member and will receive an update on the use of dogs in pest detection and control. The meeting is open to the public.

State Soil Conservation Committee to Meet July 23

Tuesday, July 08, 2014 | 09:16 am

NASHVILLE - The State Soil Conservation Committee will meet July 23 at 4 p.m. CDT in the Calhoun Salon at the DoubleTree Hotel, located at 1770 U.S. 45 Bypass in Jackson, Tenn. 

The agenda includes approval of previous meeting minutes, reports from ex-officio members, reports from partner agencies and organizations, review of old business and new business and general discussion. The meeting is open to the public.

Tennessee Beef Promotion Board to Meet

Monday, July 07, 2014 | 10:20 am

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Beef Promotion Board will meet July 18 at 1 p.m. CDT at the Tennessee Beef Industry Council, 530 Brandies Circle Suite A., Murfreesboro, Tenn. The agenda includes a review and approval of minutes, a review of board finances, budget planning, a program update and other business. The meeting is open to the public.

The Tennessee Beef Promotion Board was created in 2012 by state law to oversee the collection and use of assessments paid by producers for the purpose of promoting beef and beef products in-state. The Board comprises representatives from the Tennessee Livestock Market Association, Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association, Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation, Tennessee Dairy Association and Tennessee Beef Cattle Improvement Initiative.

For more information, contact the Tennessee Department of Agriculture at 615-837-5160.

Teacher Represents Tennessee Educators at International Conference

Thursday, July 03, 2014 | 12:32 pm

NASHVILLE – Marsha Parsons, 5th grade teacher at Whiteville Elementary, was one of two Tennesseans who joined 120 environmental educators from 46 states, Japan, Mexico and Puerto Rico at Project Learning Tree’s International Conference in Traverse City, Mich. in May. Parsons was selected based on her work using the environment and hands-on teaching techniques to instruct students in math, language arts and science in a fun way. 

Project Learning Tree (PLT) is an award-winning environmental education program designed for teachers, parents, and community leaders working with youth from preschool through grade 12. PLT is coordinated and managed by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry and the Tennessee Forestry Association in association with Tennessee Department of Education’s and Environment and Conservation’s CENTS program.

“At Whiteville, I take my students outdoors, where there is a grape vine hanging off a tree near a creek,” Parsons said. “My students use the scientific method in observations, asking questions, creating hypothesis, and drawing conclusions about the grapevine. Each time we go outside, the students monitor the grapevine progress and the production of grapes. We also use this time to describe the demographics of our neighborhood and community, along with finding small trees and completing a circumference of the tree. It’s an amazing process for me, as well as for them.”