Lively Named TDA Food and Dairy Administrator

Thursday, August 15, 2013 | 10:56 am
Shanna Lively
Shanna Lively

NASHVILLE –Tennessee Department of Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson today announced the appointment of Shanna Lively as food and dairy administrator.

“I am happy to appoint Shanna to this position that plays a very important role in ensuring food safety for Tennesseans,” Johnson said. “Food safety is a top priority at the state and federal levels and Shanna’s experience with this in the private sector makes her an ideal person to take on this responsibility.”

Lively officially assumed her new duties on Aug. 1. She replaced food and dairy administrator Bill Walls, who will be assuming other management duties within the department’s food safety program.

Local Wines Win 2013 International Wine Competition

Friday, August 09, 2013 | 11:16 am
Tennessee Wines Win
Tennessee Wines Win

NASHVILLE – Tennessee just made global news for its award winning wines.

Tennessee wineries took home 21 medals from the recent Indy International Wine Competition at Purdue University, one of the nation's largest wine competitions.

The West Lafayette, Indiana event attracted more than 2,300 wines from 39 states and 14 countries as far away as France, Australia, Chile and Greece. The wines were judged by 44 international experts in a completely blind taste competition based on appearance, aroma, taste and aftertaste.

For their port wine, “Apropos,” Beans Creek Winery in Manchester was awarded a prestigious Double Gold Medal, meaning that every one of the 44 judges at the event voted for that wine to receive a gold medal.

Pick Perfect Local Peaches in Tennessee - While They Last

Thursday, August 08, 2013 | 11:09 am
Tennessee Peaches
Tennessee Peaches

NASHVILLE -- Turns out, bigger really isn’t always better—at least when it comes to peaches. Tennessee’s peaches may not match their rivals in size this year, but that’s exactly why, at the end of a soggy summer, Tennessee peaches have more flavor packed beneath their fuzzy exteriors.

In many parts of the Deep South this summer, excessive rains have affected famous peach crops in a way that isn’t immediately evident. For peaches, superabundant water is too much of a good thing, creating what looks to be simply an exceptionally large fruit. When the flesh of waterlogged peaches swells, the real result is a peach with literally watered down flavor.

Fortunately, Tennessee’s mild summer has perfected local peaches, a sometimes elusive fruit for this state since frosts can hit too heavy and too late to accommodate early blossoming peach trees. Tennessee orchard growers are tickled peachy pink over this year’s yield, which is been sweet and abundant. With only a few weeks left in the season, local farmers are inviting customers to come pick the last of a great crop.

Emerald Ash Borer Findings Continue to Spread

Wednesday, July 31, 2013 | 12:01 pm

NASHVILLE – Emerald Ash Borer, an invasive insect that destroys ash trees, has been found in Jackson and Scott counties. The identification was made recently and has been confirmed by USDA.

Both counties will now be placed under quarantine. Earlier this summer, Hamilton County was also placed under quarantine when EAB was found in trees near a rail hub in Chattanooga.

“It appears the newly found infestations of Emerald Ash Borer probably originated through the movement of infested firewood used in camping,” Gray Haun, Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s Plant Certification Administrator said. “Campers need to buy firewood locally where they are camping to avoid introduction of new pests to those areas.”

Todd Named Assistant State Forester

Thursday, July 25, 2013 | 09:38 am
David Todd
David Todd

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Department of Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson today announced the appointment of S. David Todd as assistant state forester effective July 16. 

“I am delighted to make this appointment of a very competent and experienced professional forester to the position of assistant state forester,” Johnson said. “David, in addition to possessing excellent technical forest management skills and knowledge, also brings to the position leadership attributes that will serve the department and forestry community well.”

As assistant state forester, Todd will direct several program areas within the Division of Forestry and assist state forester Jere Jeter in maintaining existing programs and developing new ones as needed to ensure healthy and productive forests for the people of Tennessee.

Late Season Leads to Loaded Farmers Markets Across State

Wednesday, July 24, 2013 | 01:47 pm

NASHVILLE – After a late start, Tennessee farmers markets are making up for lost time. A cool, rainy spring has resulted in truckloads of local produce ready for harvest, not in an orderly procession, but a regular rush hour traffic jam of fruits and vegetables.

Pick Tennessee Products, the state’s “buy local” promotion for farm direct products, will host special media days to celebrate the growing season at two locations in the coming week. On July 27, the event will take place at the Union County Farmers Market in conjunction with their market’s corn festival. On July 31, Tennessee Department of Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson and Deputy Commissioner Jai Templeton will be on hand for a Pick Tennessee Products media day at the Ripley Downtown Farmers Market.

Visitors who attend a farmers market media day can take home free Pick Tennessee Products recipe cards and have the chance to win a basket of artisan and other popular foods from Tennessee.

TDA and TDH Provide Healthy Tips for Enjoying Summer Fairs

Wednesday, July 17, 2013 | 03:20 pm

NASHVILLE – Thousands of Tennesseans will be enjoying the sights, sounds and foods of county fairs in the upcoming weeks. And while the Tennessee Department of Health, the Department of Agriculture and other agencies work behind the scenes to help safeguard the health of people and animals, parents and individuals need to take a few moments to prepare for another healthy trip to the fairgrounds.

Livestock exhibits are popular attractions and are an important part of agricultural youth programs and industry. Fairgoers are encouraged to visit these areas while also being mindful that, while the instances are rare, livestock can sometimes spread diseases such as E coli and H3N2 swine flu to humans, especially the elderly, young children, and those with compromised immune systems.

Last year, there were several cases in other states of swine flu infecting pigs and, in some cases, humans who came into contact with them at fairs around the country. To minimize risk, those prone to developing severe complications from influenza or in poor health should limit their exposure to swine.

Tennessee Pest Control Licensing and Advisory Board to Meet

Monday, July 08, 2013 | 03:26 pm

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Pest Control Licensing and Advisory Board will meet July 15 at 9:30 a.m. CDT in the conference room at the Porter Building at Ellington Agricultural Center, 440 Hogan Rd, Nashville, Tenn. The agenda includes a review and approval of minutes, special licensing requests, Tennessee Insecticide Fungicide Rodenticide Act rule changes and horticulture lawn and turf mosquito spraying. The meeting is open to the public.

The Tennessee Pest Control Licensing and Advisory Board comprises seven members representing the pest control industry and consumers. The board sets standards for licensing in categories of pesticide application. The board also advises the Tennessee Department of Agriculture on pest control issues and regulatory matters.

For more information, contact pesticide administrator Kathy Booker, Tennessee Department of Agriculture, Regulatory Services Division at 615-837-5133 or

Tennessee Beef Promotion Board to Meet

Friday, July 05, 2013 | 04:16 pm

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Beef Promotion Board will meet July 19 at 1 p.m. CDT at the offices of the Tennessee Beef Industry Council, located at 530 Brandies Circle, Suite A in Murfreesboro, Tenn. The agenda includes a review and approval of minutes, a review of board finances and a program update. 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.

State Veterinarian Revises Wild Hog Transport Order

Wednesday, July 03, 2013 | 10:06 am

New Order to Help Strengthen Enforcement of Illegal Transport Law

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Agriculture today announced a revised Order by the State Veterinarian specifying conditions under which wild-appearing hogs are to be transported in the state.   

The revised order, which went into effect June 10, is in support of legislation passed last year by the Tennessee General Assembly and signed into law by Gov. Bill Haslam making it illegal to transport and release wild-appearing hogs without documentation from the department.

“Wild hogs have the propensity to reproduce in great numbers, carry diseases, destroy crops and cause serious ecological damage,” state veterinarian Charles Hatcher, DVM, said. “The new order strengthens efforts to prevent the illegal transportation and releasing of wild hogs by requiring individual animal identification and documentation for all wild-appearing hogs being moved.”