Agriculture

Ag Leaders Develop Strategic Plan to Grow Tennessee Agriculture and Forestry Over Next Decade

Tuesday, December 10, 2013 | 10:52 am

NASHVILLE – Tennessee’s top agricultural leaders today announced a 10-year strategic plan to increase agriculture and forestry in the state by building production capacity and incentivizing the private sector.

The plan, which has been a year in the making, was developed following a challenge by Gov. Bill Haslam a year ago to make Tennessee the No. 1 state in the Southeast in the growth and development of agriculture and forestry.

“Every farm is a small business, and we need to remember that,” Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson said. “We enjoy the aesthetics of our farms and often forget that there is a business ongoing here that has to turn a profit every year to continue to exist as a farm.”

Tennessee State Fair and Exposition Commission to Meet Dec. 20

Monday, December 09, 2013 | 03:58 pm

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee State Fair and Exposition Commission will meet Dec. 20 at 2 p.m. CST at the Ed Jones Auditorium, located at Ellington Agricultural Center, 416 Hogan Road in Nashville. 

The commission will consider action on a recommendation from the Request for Proposal evaluation team regarding the selection of an operator for the 2014 – 2018 state fairs. The meeting may be conducted permitting electronic means of communication by some members of the commission. The meeting is open to the public.

The Tennessee State Fair and Exposition Commission was created by the Tennessee General Assembly in 2012 to select and supervise a Tennessee not for profit corporation for the purpose of operating a fair or exposition, and to grant exclusive use of the name “Tennessee State Fair” or “Tennessee State Exposition.”

State’s “Pick Tennessee” Program Updates Image, Services

Monday, December 09, 2013 | 09:01 am

NASHVILLE -- The Tennessee Department of Agriculture today unveiled a new look and improved features for the popular Pick Tennessee Products consumer site. A simplified, phone friendly logo icon and increased Web capabilities are part of a push by the department to maximize its consumer and producer services. 

Ensuring full digital access, including “responsive” Web design, with each page conforming to the shape of whatever type of screen displays it, is part of a larger process leading to the launch of a mobile app in early 2014. The new free mobile app will allow users to locate the farms and products closest to them through direct GPS mapping as well as provide access to the full Pick Tennessee site.

“We’re putting our farmers, programs and products in front of consumers as never before,” announced Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson. “We’re reaching out to consumers where they already expect to find us—on their phones, through mobile apps and other digital services.”

Freshest Gift Idea This Holiday Season? A Whole Year of Local Foods

Wednesday, December 04, 2013 | 01:07 pm

NASHVILLE - Retail aisles, catalogs and cyberspace are stuffed with things to buy. Still, somehow, there often seems to be little of real substance to give. When you want your gift to be a true reflection of how much you care, it can be hard to find a stand-out present, one that really meets a need and will be appreciated all through the year.

For those who like to “live local,” the perfect solution may be a gift certificate for a year of fresh produce and other local foods from a nearby Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm. Everyone eats, and everyone benefits from eating fresh produce. With a CSA gift certificate, both the person who receives fresh foods and the CSA farmer are better off.

In a CSA, a farmer contracts with other people in the community to provide them with a portion of the year’s harvest. CSA customers pay the farmer before the produce season begins, allowing the farmer to buy necessary seed, fertilizer, fuel and other inputs necessary to farm for the year. When crops start coming in, the customer’s fresh, local food is already bought and paid for. CSA members might go to the farm to pick up their shares or meet the farmer at a drop-off site in the community.

State Analysis Links Cluster of Illnesses to Raw Milk Consumption

Thursday, November 21, 2013 | 10:57 am

NASHVILLE - The Tennessee Department of Health confirmed today the strain of E.coli that caused nine children to become ill after drinking raw milk obtained from McBee Dairy Farm near Knoxville has been matched to animal waste collected at the dairy. Five of the nine children required hospitalization and three developed a severe kidney problem known as hemolytic uremic syndrome. 

Tennessee State Fair and Exposition Commission Seeking Proposals

Thursday, November 21, 2013 | 07:07 am

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee State Fair and Exposition Commission is seeking proposals from any qualified Tennessee not-for-profit corporation for the purpose of operating, managing and conducting a state fair or exhibition annually, under the supervision of the Commission, for a period of five years (2014 through 2018). The deadline for proposals is Dec. 13, 2013.

The Tennessee State Fair and Exposition Commission was created by the Tennessee General Assembly in 2012 to select and supervise a Tennessee not for profit corporation for the purpose of operating a fair or exposition, and to grant exclusive use of the name “Tennessee State Fair” or “Tennessee State Exposition.” 

The commission comprises nine members including the commissioners of Agriculture, Tourist Development and Economic and Community Development; the University of Tennessee Dean of Extension; the president of the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation; an appointee by the mayor of the host county; and, three appointees by the governor.

State Soil Conservation Committee to Meet December 9

Wednesday, November 20, 2013 | 12:23 pm

NASHVILLE - The next meeting of the State Soil Conservation Committee will be held Dec.  9 at 11:30 a.m. at the Marriott Hotel-Cool Springs in Franklin, Tenn., in conjunction with the Tennessee Farm Bureau Convention. The meeting will take place in a meeting/dining room within Lorraine’s Bistro inside the Marriott Hotel.

The agenda includes remarks from Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson, a USDA-NRCS report and remarks from TACD representative Danny Sells.

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

Agriculture Commissioner Recognizes Outstanding Tennessee FFA Students

Monday, November 18, 2013 | 01:20 pm

NASHVILLE – Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson congratulated and praised Tennessee’s outstanding agricultural students on their recent achievements at the 86th Annual National FFA Convention and Expo held earlier this month in Louisville, Kentucky.

“Tennessee’s FFA students have consistently done well over the years, but recently the quality of our students and programs have excelled at the national level,” Johnson said. “I commend and congratulate this year’s national winners. I think their success is a testament to the strength of agriculture education and FFA in Tennessee and to the agriculture teachers who are preparing them for high tech careers in the industry.”

Nearly 63,000 FFA students attended the 2013 national convention. Each year at the convention, six students are elected by delegates to represent the organization as National FFA officers. Tennessee’s own Mitch Baker was elected to the 2013-14 National FFA Officer team as national secretary.

Living Local, Giving Local for the Holidays is a Piece of Cake—or Bacon, or Cheese

Tuesday, November 12, 2013 | 11:57 am

NASHVILLE - First there was “Black Friday,” the day after Thanksgiving, when the holiday shopping season officially begins and retail store ledgers typically go from red ink to black. More recently, the Saturday after Thanksgiving has been dubbed “Small Business Saturday” to remind shoppers to include local businesses in their search for perfect presents.

This year, Small Business Saturday is November 30. For those who like to live local, this is a great time to remember that it’s also possible to give local by choosing farm direct and locally made gifts. 

Tennessee’s Pick Tennessee Products website, www.picktnproducts.org , is ready for the holiday rush with options for gift baskets, corporate gifts, foods made with local ingredients, and artisan farm products ranging from local cheeses and handmade soaps to smoked bacon or beeswax candles. Holiday recipes featuring seasonal fresh or locally produced ingredients are available not only on the website but through social media like Pinterest, as well.

Tennessee State Fair and Exposition Commission to Meet Nov. 15

Friday, November 08, 2013 | 02:56 pm

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee State Fair and Exposition Commission will meet Nov. 15 at 10 a.m. CST at the UT Extension Central Region office at Ellington Agricultural Center, located at 5201 Marchant Dr. in Nashville.

The commission will consider approval of previous meeting minutes and a Request for Proposal and schedule for selecting future state fair operators. The meeting will be conducted permitting electronic means of communication by some members of the commission. The meeting is open to the public.