Agriculture

Trapping Gets Underway for Tree Pest Across Tennessee

Friday, May 31, 2013 | 10:20 am

- Purple Beetle Traps Going Up in Ash Trees -

NASHVILLE – Purple three-sided insect traps that resemble a box kite can be seen in ash trees across Tennessee in the next few months as part of a surveillance program by state and federal agencies. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA, APHIS) and the Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA) are partnering to survey for Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), a non-native, wood-boring beetle that has killed tens of millions of ash trees in the eastern United States and Canada.

“Trapping is a very important tool for us to know how extensive the infestation is and whether additional control measures are needed to slow it from spreading to new areas,” TDA Plant Certification administrator Gray Haun said. “This year, as last year, traps have been placed across the state as a part of a national survey program.”

Tennessee Forestry Commission to Meet May 28

Friday, May 17, 2013 | 02:24 pm

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Forestry Commission will meet by conference call May 28 at 10 a.m. CST. The meeting is open to the public and individuals may listen to the proceedings at the Tennessee Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry’s offices in Nashville. Access to the conference call will be available in the Bruer Building conference room at Ellington Agricultural Center, located at 406 Hogan Road. 

The first item of business for the commission will be to determine a necessity for an electronic meeting in compliance with state law. The commission will meet briefly to approve minutes from the previous meeting, hear a report from the Division of Forestry on tree seedling production and approve tree seedling prices for the 2013 – 2014 growing season. 

The Tennessee Forestry Commission comprises seven members representing the public’s interests as it relates to forest resources in the state. The commission advises the Division of Forestry on forest resource issues. For more information, contact the Division of Forestry at 615-837-5520.

Tennessee Dairy Promotion Committee to Meet May 30

Friday, May 17, 2013 | 02:21 pm

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Dairy Promotion Committee will hold a joint meeting with the American Dairy Association of Tennessee Board of Directors on Thursday, May 30 at 6 p.m. CST at the Hyatt Place, 202 Summit View Drive, Brentwood. 

The committee will review financials, plan the fall advertising campaign, discuss use of the TAEP grant and other business. The meeting is open to the public.

The committee comprises producers directly affected by the assessment. Members are represented in proportion to method of milk marketing either through agricultural dairy cooperatives or by direct sale.

Ball Named TDA Director of Marketing

Friday, May 03, 2013 | 10:55 am
Debbie Ball
Debbie Ball

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Department of Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson today announced the appointment of Debbie Stepp Ball as director of marketing in the Market Development Division.

“Debbie is uniquely suited for this position at this point in the division’s history,” said Johnson. “I can’t imagine a more qualified person in terms of education, experience and skills to help lead the division into its next phase of service for Tennessee agriculture. In addition to her private sector marketing experience, she has a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing farming today and in the future. ”

Ball has been with TDA since 2008 serving as statewide outreach coordinator for the Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program. Her marketing and advertising background quickly led her to assume responsibility for the entire division’s producer and consumer web services. She replaces former director of marketing, Dan Strasser, who left after eight years with the department to take a position with the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation.

Ag Enhancement Program Application Period Almost Here

Tuesday, April 30, 2013 | 03:37 pm

- Farmers Can Now Apply for TAEP Funding Online -

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Agriculture has set June 1 – 7 as the application period for the 2013 Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program.

“Governor Haslam recognizes the importance of the Ag Enhancement program to farmers and has once again fully funded the program in his state budget,” Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson said. “Now in its ninth year, we want to reach as many farmers as possible and expect that the new online system will encourage even more participation.”

This is the first year farmers have the opportunity to apply online. “We are very excited about TAEP Online and encourage all producers to take advantage of this new system; however, online participation is not mandatory,” said TAEP administrator Justin Bryant. “Producers can still submit paper applications during the application period, and applications must be postmarked between June 1 and June 7.”

What Could Late Frosts Do to Tennessee’s Strawberry Crop?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013 | 01:52 pm

Farmers Demonstrate Techniques for Fighting Frost Damage at Media Days April 24th and 25th

NASHVILLE – A drop in nighttime temperatures this week puts at risk some of Tennessee’s much anticipated strawberry crop. With strawberries just ready to pick, how will farmers deal with potential frosts?

Two Tennessee strawberry growers plan to show off just how well their frost prevention techniques work on Wednesday and Thursday during special Pick Tennessee Products media days. Visitors who come to pick strawberries by 11 a.m. both days will get to see how those berries were protected the night before with “frost blankets” or a continuous water spray system. Berry pickers can also take home free recipe cards and have the chance to win a basket of artisan foods from Tennessee. 

Bradley Kountry Acres Strawberries and Greenhouse in Sumner County, owned by Mike and Cathy Bradley, will host a strawberry picking media day on April 24th. The Bradley’s also have a large selection of spring bedding plants, herbs, vegetable plants, ferns and hanging baskets grown in their own farm greenhouses.

Farmers Start Strawberry Season With Pick Tennessee Products Media Days April 24th and 25th

Monday, April 22, 2013 | 09:22 am

NASHVILLE – Two Tennessee strawberry growers plan to celebrate their crops with a special Pick Tennessee Products media day during the last week of April. Visitors who come to pick strawberries that day can take home free recipe cards and have the chance to win a basket of artisan foods from Tennessee. 

Bradley Kountry Acres Strawberries and Greenhouse in Sumner County, owned by Mike and Cathy Bradley, will host a strawberry picking media day on April 24th. The Bradley’s also have a large selection of spring bedding plants, herbs, vegetable plants, ferns and hanging baskets grown in their own farm greenhouses.
 
On April 25th, Pick Tennessee Products will be at Circle S Farms near Lebanon, owned by Nelson, Emmie Lou and Donnie Steed.

Food Safety Seminar Focuses on Local Foods

Thursday, April 18, 2013 | 02:16 pm

NASHVILLE – “Eat local” isn’t just a buzzword referring to the growing trend of consumers buying locally-grown foods. Consumers benefit by receiving fresh foods from local growers while sales benefit local farmers, businesses and economies. Local foods are the focus of this year’s Tennessee Food Safety Task Force Annual Seminar hosted by the Tennessee Departments of Health and Agriculture.

Tennessee Launches CWD Herd Certification Program

Friday, April 12, 2013 | 12:05 pm

Voluntary Program aimed at farmed deer, elk and other cervidae

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Agriculture is launching a voluntary Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Herd Certification Program aimed at preventing the disease in farmed deer, elk and other cervidae in the state.

“Chronic Wasting Disease is a transmissible disease of cervidae that causes weight loss and eventual death of the infected animal,” said assistant state veterinarian Sara Clariday, DVM. “Although the disease has not been diagnosed in Tennessee, we want to work with captive cervidae owners to prevent the introduction of this disease, which could have a severe economic impact on producers in our state.”

Recent Cold Snaps Helped State’s Strawberry Crop

Tuesday, April 09, 2013 | 01:22 pm
Cinna-Berry Bread
Cinna-Berry Bread

NASHVILLE –   Springtime cold snaps make strawberry lovers quake in their boots over the quantity and quality of the crop. Fortunately, Tennessee’s strawberry growers report that, if anything, the weather so far has only benefitted the burgeoning berries.

“All fruits sweeten best in hot, sunny weather,” says Pamela Bartholomew, marketing specialist with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, “but Tennessee’s cool, wet spring has actually prolonged the growing process. The cold has thinned out some strawberries, but that’s actually a good thing, too, since the remaining berries will get a bigger share of their plant’s nourishment. It all adds up to a great crop!”

Strawberries generally are available first in West Tennessee in mid-April, then work their way across the state. Early varieties of strawberries are ready now in West and Middle Tennessee, and will continue to be available to the end of May as later varieties reach maturity. In East Tennessee, strawberries are usually available throughout the month of May and the early part of June.