Haslam, Johnson Name New State Forester

Tuesday, November 27, 2012 | 12:27 pm
State Forester Jere Jeter
State Forester Jere Jeter

NASHVILLE – Gov. Bill Haslam and Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson today announced the appointment of veteran Division of Forestry employee Jere Jeter as State Forester and Assistant Commissioner.

Jeter succeeds Steven Scott, who retired earlier this year after serving 10 years in the position.

“Jere has extensive natural resources management experience in both the private and public sectors that will serve our state well as we deal with important forest resource and protection issues, and I’m pleased to join Commissioner Johnson in making this announcement,” Haslam said.

Did Summer Drought Decimate Tennessee’s Christmas Tree Crop? Not Yet

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 | 04:43 pm
TN Christmas Tree Directory QR code
TN Christmas Tree Directory QR code

NASHVILLE -- Most customers who visit local Christmas tree farms in the coming weeks won’t notice, but growers without irrigation this summer saw significant losses in seedlings planted over the 2011-12 fall and winter.

According to Kyle Holmberg, marketing specialist with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, some growers reported new seedling losses up to 80 percent. Losses of mature trees ran between 10 and 20 percent in areas subjected to significant drought combined with excessive heat.

Since a typical Christmas tree variety takes between six and seven years to reach 6 feet, however, most customers won‘t notice much difference this year.  Larger, mature trees can withstand more extreme weather conditions and are ready now for cutting or transplanting.

State Soil Conservation Committee to Meet December 3

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 | 02:52 pm

NASHVILLE - The next meeting of the State Soil Conservation Committee will be held Dec. 3 at the Embassy Suites in Cool Springs. 

The meeting will be in conjunction with the annual convention of the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation.  It will be held in the first floor boardroom adjacent to the Junior Ballroom at 4:30 to 5:30 pm.

The agenda includes remarks by state Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson, and reports from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture Water Resources program and the Tennessee Association of Conservation Districts.

State Ag and Economic Development Officials to Host "Rural Opportunities Roundtable"

Friday, November 16, 2012 | 01:57 pm

The Tennessee departments of Agriculture and Economic and Community Development are hosting a “Rural Opportunities Roundtable” for farmers, landowners, local extension and county leaders in Benton, Carroll, Crockett, Dyer, Gibson, Henry, Lake, Obion and Weakley counties. The meeting will take place Dec. 10 at 10 a.m. at the West Tennessee Agricultural Museum in Milan. 

The purpose of the meeting is to hear stakeholder concerns about agriculture and forestry issues and to explore opportunities for developing the state’s rural economy. The agenda includes a discussion of the Ag Enhancement program, Pick Tennessee Products and other topics of interest to area landowners. Representatives from the UT Institute of Agriculture will address the impacts of crop irrigation and marketing.

Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson and other agency representatives will all be on hand to discuss programs and services to support rural economic development. Representatives from the Port of Cates Landing will give an update on port construction. There will also be time for open discussion by participants.

Tennessee State Fair and Exposition Commission to Meet Nov. 28

Friday, November 16, 2012 | 01:21 pm

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee State Fair and Exposition Commission will meet Nov. 28 at 2 p.m. CST in the Ed Jones Auditorium at Ellington Agricultural Center, located at 440 Hogan Road in Nashville. 

The commission will review and approve previous meeting minutes, consider approving an operator for the 2013 Tennessee State Fair and discuss plans for developing criteria for selecting future fair operators. The meeting is open to the public.

The Tennessee State Fair and Exposition Commission was created by the Tennessee General Assembly earlier this year 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.”

Eat Local All Winter With Fall Produce From Area Farmers Markets

Friday, November 09, 2012 | 03:00 pm
Equivalents Chart QR Code
Equivalents Chart QR Code
Candied Squash
Candied Squash

NASHVILLE -- Long before squashes, pumpkins and all manner of colorful autumn produce landed on magazine covers as seasonal centerpieces, they were food - specifically, foods with hard or thick, durable skins and rinds that remained edible through the winter, so long as they were properly stored.

These days, traffic to local farm markets slows down once customers have purchased autumn décor like Indian corn, mums and gourds, but many fresh, local food crops are available long after hard freezes put summer produce fields to rest. 

Sweet potatoes, apples, turnips and turnip greens, onions, winter squash, pumpkins, dried beans and white potatoes are all overflowing at farm markets across the state. In many areas of the state, cool weather crops like cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower will also remain plentiful right up until the coldest part of the year. Honey, nuts, sorghum syrup, jellies, cured meats and dairy products are also delicious staples of traditional fall farm markets.

Tennessee Invests in Farm Innovation, Diversification Projects

Thursday, November 08, 2012 | 12:04 pm

-Diversification projects give economic options for farmers-

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Department of Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson today announced Producer Diversification cost share awards totaling nearly $1 million.  The funds will help 168 Tennessee farmers invest in new or expanding areas of agriculture.

The Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program was established in 2005 and supported by the General Assembly to increase farm income by helping farmers invest in better farming practices and by encouraging diversification and innovation.

“More than ever, it is important for farmers to look at ways to diversify their operations to ensure profitability,” Johnson said. “These business investments and opportunities will not only help farmers keep their operations profitable, but they will help strengthen our rural economy in communities across the state.”

State Viticulture Advisory Board to Meet November 13

Tuesday, November 06, 2012 | 03:30 pm

NASHVILLE - The Tennessee Viticulture Advisory Board is meeting Nov. 13 at 10 a.m. CST at the DelMonaco Winery and Vineyards, located at 600 Lance Drive in Baxter, Tenn.

The agenda includes a review of the 2012 grape crop, the Biennial Viticulture Report, the USDA Specialty Crop Program, new board appointees, the Tennessee Horticulture Expo and other business.

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

Ag Enhancement Deadline Nears for Livestock Projects

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 | 01:29 pm

NASHVILLE – Dec. 1 is the deadline for eligible farmers to submit reimbursement requests for livestock equipment and feed storage projects approved through the Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program. 

“It is important that farmers who are approved for livestock equipment or feed storage funding finish their projects and submit a completed reimbursement request as soon as possible,” TAEP administrator Justin Bryant said. “In addition to reminding producers about upcoming deadlines, we’re excited to announce our new producer account management system, TAEP Online.”

Phase one of TAEP Online allows producers to update contact information, view TAEP history and print copies of current reimbursement instructions. Participation in TAEP Online is not required to participate in TAEP, but producers are encouraged to take advantage of this easy to access system to keep account information current.