Restaurant Inspections Help Keep Tennesseans Healthy

Wednesday, February 19, 2014 | 11:33 am
Courtesy:  CDC/Amanda Mills
Courtesy: CDC/Amanda Mills

NASHVILLE – There are approximately 26,000 establishments in Tennessee where food and beverages are served. Inspectors from the Tennessee Department of Health visit each location at least twice a year to make sure items are safe for consumption.

“Protecting the health of all Tennesseans is a core part of our mission,” said TDH Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH. “Our regulatory role and partnership with food and beverage providers helps to prevent food-borne illnesses and is one of the invisible services we provide to people across Tennessee every day.”

State Soil Conservation Committee to Meet February 23

Wednesday, February 12, 2014 | 11:16 am

NASHVILLE - The next meeting of the State Soil Conservation Committee will be held Feb.  23 at 5 p.m. at the Nashville Airport Marriott Hotel, 600 Marriott Dr, Nashville, Tenn., in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Tennessee Association of Conservation Districts.  The meeting will take place in Salon C inside the hotel.

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

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.

Outstanding Fairs Honored at 92nd Annual Convention

Monday, January 27, 2014 | 04:35 pm

- Fifty-six awards were given to top agricultural fairs -

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Department of Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson recently presented awards to 56 of the state’s top county, regional and state agricultural fairs. They were recognized with the Merit Award for outstanding achievement during the 2013 fair season. More than 900 people attended the Fairs Merit Awards recognition dinner during the 92nd Annual Convention of the Tennessee Association of Fairs (TAF) held January 16 - 18 in Nashville. 

The top award went to the Overton County Fair in Livingston when it was named the Champion of Champions Fair for 2013. The Overton County Fair was also recognized by Johnson and TAF President Stephen Potter, with the “Award of Merit” based on overall operations, educational value and promotion of local interest in agriculture and community spirit.

“Fairs are a wonderful way for families to bond and create life-long memories while experiencing the best our farms and communities have to offer,” said Johnson. “Our Tennessee fairs have a positive impact on local economies as well as on agriculture and education.”

Gov. Haslam Declares State of Emergency to Ensure Propane Availability to Heat Homes and Businesses

Tuesday, January 21, 2014 | 02:32 pm

Nashville, Tenn. – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam issued Executive Order #35 today declaring a State of Emergency in Tennessee to exempt the federal Hours of Service requirements in the state for the transporting of propane during the next period of cold weather.

Tennessee Viticulture Advisory Board to Meet

Wednesday, January 15, 2014 | 05:30 pm

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Viticulture Advisory Board will meet Feb. 1 at 3:30 p.m. CST in conjunction with the Tennessee Horticultural Expo at the Nashville Airport Marriott, 600 Marriott Dr., Nashville, Tenn. The agenda includes a review of the VAB report for 2014 and a discussion of the Governor’s Rural Challenge: A 10-Year Strategic Plan for growing Tennessee agriculture and forestry.

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. 

The Tennessee Viticulture Advisory Board advises the Tennessee Department of Agriculture on matters pertaining to grape growing and wine production in Tennessee.  For more information, contact Tammy Algood, marketing specialist with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture at 615-837-5160, or e-mail

Tennessee Beef Promotion Board to Meet

Friday, January 10, 2014 | 02:52 pm

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Beef Promotion Board will meet Feb. 5 at 1 p.m. CST in conjunction with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Annual Convention at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville, Tenn.

The agenda includes a review and approval of minutes, a review of board finances, an audit review and discussion of Tennessee Beef Industry Council being designated to collect state checkoff dollars on behalf of board. 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.

Tennessee Pest Control Licensing and Advisory Board to Meet

Friday, January 03, 2014 | 02:17 pm

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Pest Control Licensing and Advisory Board will meet Jan. 13 at 9:30 a.m. CST in the conference room at the Porter Building at Ellington Agricultural Center, 436 Hogan Rd, Nashville, Tenn. The agenda includes a review and approval of minutes and special licensing requests. 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

TAEP Continuing Education Qualifications Updated

Thursday, January 02, 2014 | 12:51 pm

New Qualifications for 50 Percent Cost Share Effective 2015

NASHVILLE -- In an effort to enhance the state’s agricultural industry and to increase farmers’ capacity to produce, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture is encouraging producers to take advantage of new continuing education opportunities now offered by the University of Tennessee Extension.

“Agricultural leaders recently unveiled a strategic plan to grow and develop our industry over the next decade,” Agriculture Commission Julius Johnson said.  “Education and research were recognized as key components for helping us achieve our goals, and these continuing education opportunities will be important for producers to maximize efficiency in their operations and to increase farm profitability.” 

Beginning in 2015, producers who wish to qualify for 50 percent cost share funding through the Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program may need to participate in UT advanced continuing education opportunities by certain TAEP reimbursement deadlines. This gives producers nearly two years to complete the new continuing education opportunities. For the 2014 application period, any Master producer certificates received prior to 2015 will still qualify for 50 percent cost share.

State Acquires Conservation Easement on 3,282 Acres of Private Land at Fiery Gizzard

Monday, December 16, 2013 | 12:33 pm

Multi-year campaign to protect nationally-recognized recreation area is complete thanks to Forest Legacy Grant

MONTEAGLE – The Tennessee Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry, in partnership with The Land Trust for Tennessee and The Conservation Fund, celebrated today the completion of a multi-year effort to conserve a significant stretch of environmentally and economically important forestland in South Cumberland.

The Division of Forestry acquired a conservation easement on 3,282 acres adjacent to South Cumberland State Park in Grundy County thanks to a grant from the federal Forest Legacy Program. The conservation easement allows for the property to remain privately owned and managed as a working forest, which significantly benefits the local economy while conserving the area’s exceptional biological diversity. The land is near a section of the nationally-ranked, 17-mile Fiery Gizzard Trail, where more than one million people visit South Cumberland State Park annually.

“The conservation easement will ensure that a valued portion of the unique tableland forests of this area remains intact in perpetuity,” said Jere Jeter, State Forester and Assistant Commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Agriculture. “The Division is proud to partner with the Land Trust for Tennessee and The Conservation Fund in keeping working forests forested and protecting the rich forest heritage of the South Cumberland Mountains.”

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

Tuesday, December 10, 2013 | 11:52 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.”