Agriculture

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.”

Tennessee Forestry Commission to Meet Aug. 19

Wednesday, August 13, 2014 | 08:16 am

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Forestry Commission will meet Aug. 19 at 9:30 a.m. CDT in the Bruer Building conference room at Ellington Agricultural Center, located at 406 Hogan Road in Nashville. 

The agenda includes approval of previous meeting minutes, introduction of new members, election of officers, an overview of the Department of Agriculture and an update on the Division of Forestry’s budget and current activities such as the forest products branding program, forest health, urban forestry and timber sales.

State to Assist with Tornado Debris Clean-Up

Friday, August 01, 2014 | 11:38 am

Multi-Department Task Force to help in Claiborne and Campbell Counties

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Nashville – The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency will be coordinating with several state departments and agencies to respond with a task force and clean-up storm debris from public right-of-ways in Claiborne and Campbell Counties. This effort is in response to requests from the two County Mayors, who report the volume of debris from an EF-3 tornado in the July 27 storm has been overwhelming for local resources.

Tennessee Markets Celebrate National Farmers Market Week with Special Events

Thursday, July 31, 2014 | 03:20 pm

NASHVILLE -- Tennessee’s farmers markets have reason to celebrate. Summer fruits and vegetables of all kinds are plentiful, and farmers market fans continue to increase each year as patrons realize benefits not only for their health, but for the economic health of their communities. National Farmers Market Week is August 3-9, and Tennessee markets are ready to express thanks to regular customers and lure new ones with special events and activities.

Farmers markets throughout Tennessee can be found through www.picktnproducts.org and with the new “Pick Tennessee” mobile app. The free app is downloadable from both the App Store for Apple products and from Google Play for Android devices and allows users to search by item, like “apples,” by region of the state, season, the farm where they’re produced, or the markets where they’re sold. The mobile app then provides directions to the chosen location through direct GPS mapping.

The Pick Tennessee mobile app keeps track of favorites and provides links to seasonal recipes, handy tips and fun facts, as well as the full Pick Tennessee Products website. Farm direct and local items on the app include options as varied as local fruits and vegetables, wineries, greenhouses and plant nurseries, Christmas tree farms and local honey.

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.