Best Supporter of Small Businesses? Other Small Businesses

Wednesday, November 19, 2014 | 10:03 am

NASHVILLE — This holiday season, if you want to buy local when you shop, look no further than Mom and Pop.

Small Business Saturday is Nov. 29, and independent shop owners across Tennessee will be looking for a bump in sales from consumers who support the retailers rooted in their own communities. Support from those who live and give local can produce an economic ripple effect: Tennessee’s “small batch” and artisan food makers often depend on other small businesses to sell their products to the public. Large box stores may be unable to carry many upscale local products because the producers can’t meet the retail chain’s large volume requirements. 

Typical independent businesses that carry local products include gift shops, florists, local wineries, food co-ops, or regional diners and restaurants. Some of these small businesses specialize in gift baskets made with Tennessee products and can ship those baskets to their recipients.

Wine Club Memberships—A Perfect Pairing of “Easy” With “Appreciated”

Friday, November 14, 2014 | 09:08 am
Tennessee Wines
Tennessee Wines

NASHVILLE - 'Tis the season for clinking glasses, cheery toasts and celebration. One trendy way to keep that festive spirit alive all year long is with the gift of a wine club membership through a Tennessee winery.

Wine clubs are easy to join, and a gift membership is sure to be appreciated. It’s an especially thoughtful choice for friends and loved ones who live far away or are unable to receive their gifts in person.

Wine club members receive regular shipments of wines from one particular winery. The frequency of shipments and the amount of wine included depends on the membership.  When the gift is purchased, recipients are notified of their new club status and can choose for themselves the types of wine they’ll receive. Tennessee wineries produce the full range of wines including dry, sweet or blended, and since most Tennessee wineries use local fruits as well as grapes, every shipment can hold a new flavor experience.

Local Christmas Tree Farms Help Keep Holidays Green

Thursday, November 13, 2014 | 10:08 am
Visit a local Christmas tree farm for natural and "green" decor
Visit a local Christmas tree farm for natural and "green" decor

NASHVILLE- Christmas tree farms grow a completely renewable and recyclable resource which contains no petroleum products and leaves a negligible carbon footprint. A natural tree is 100 percent biodegradable, in stark contrast to artificial trees which are made from plastic and various metals. 

Lots of people don’t think about where plastics—and therefore artificial trees—come from. Plastic is made with petroleum products. Lead is another ingredient in PVC (polyvinyl chloride) plastic and other metals. Plastic trees don’t biodegrade and chances are they’ve traveled a long way, leaving a huge carbon footprint to get to retail stores.  About 85 percent of them start in China, but they’ll end up sitting in American landfills for centuries.

Natural trees from local tree farms are completely recyclable and are close to home. While they grow, trees absorb carbon dioxide and other gases and emit fresh oxygen. Christmas trees are often grown on soil that doesn't support other crops, and their root systems serve to stabilize soil, protect area water quality and provide refuge for wildlife. Grown on farms, one to three new seedlings are planted for every tree harvested to ensure a constant supply.

Tennessee to Check for Livestock Traceability Compliance Starting Jan. 1

Thursday, November 13, 2014 | 09:40 am

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture will conduct routine compliance checks beginning Jan. 1, 2015 for the federal Animal Disease Traceability rule. The rule went into effect last year and requires the identification of livestock being transported across state lines.

“The federal rule is an effective way to trace the movement of livestock in an animal disease event so that appropriate action can be taken to limit the impact on producers,” state veterinarian Charles Hatcher said. “The rule only applies to livestock being moved interstate, but it’s important that Tennessee farmers work with their local veterinarian to obtain proper documentation.”

The ADT rule requires all livestock, including cattle, equine, sheep and goats, swine and poultry, being moved interstate to be officially identified, unless specifically exempted. Livestock must be accompanied by an interstate certificate of veterinary inspection or other documentation, such as owner-shipper statements or brand certificates.

Don't Need a Christmas Tree? Visit Tree Farms for Wreaths, Garland and Holiday Fun

Monday, November 10, 2014 | 12:07 pm
The Lazy Spread Tree Farm near Clarksville offers wagon rides and wreath making, along with other holiday activities.
The Lazy Spread Tree Farm near Clarksville offers wagon rides and wreath making, along with other holiday activities.

Some people just can’t see the tree farm for the trees.

Local tree farmers have heard all the reasons for skipping a holiday visit to a tree farm. “We can’t have a real tree in the house—we’re allergic.” “The spot where we like to put our tree is hard to clean up after the holidays, so artificial is easier.” “We only like one variety of tree.” “It’s our tradition to buy our tree from an organization we support.”

Finding a perfect tree is only one of many good reasons to experience a holiday adventure at a local Christmas tree farm. Tennessee’s tree farms also offer lush, natural wreaths and garland for a home’s exterior. That can be the perfect solution for those who can’t have a real tree inside but still want to enjoy the terrific aroma of real greenery straight from the great outdoors.

Tennessee State Fair and Exposition Commission to Meet Nov. 17

Friday, November 07, 2014 | 01:52 pm

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee State Fair and Exposition Commission will meet concurrently with the Metro Board of Fair Commissioners and Tennessee State Fair Association Board of Directors Nov. 17 at 2 p.m. CST. The meeting will be held at the Metro Police Department’s South Precinct, located at 5101 Harding Place in Nashville.    

The purpose of the meeting will be to hear a report from the Tennessee State Fair Association and for general discussion on the future goals and objectives of the fair. There will be no official action taken by the commission as the meeting is for informational sharing and discussion purposes only. The meeting may be conducted permitting electronic means of communication by some members of the commission. The meeting is open to the public.

Notice of Public Hearing on Industrial Hemp Rules

Friday, November 07, 2014 | 01:32 pm

NASHVILLE –The Tennessee Department of Agriculture will hold a public hearing on Nov. 18 at 10 a.m. CST to gather input on the permitting and regulation of industrial hemp.  

The purpose of this hearing is to receive public comment on the department’s commitment to fulfill the requirements of Public Chapter 916, enacted by the Tennessee General Assembly, to develop a licensing and inspection program for the production of industrial hemp in Tennessee.

Industrial hemp is a variety of Cannabis sativa and is of the same plant species as marijuana. However hemp has a significantly lower tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content, and is distinguished by its use and chemical makeup. You will find industrial hemp in a variety of products, including fabric, textiles, fibers, and pharmaceuticals. More than 30 nations grow industrial hemp as an agricultural commodity. Current industry estimates show that U.S. importation and retail sales of hemp-based products may exceed $300 million annually.

Notice of Public Hearing to Define Honey in Tennessee

Friday, November 07, 2014 | 01:30 pm

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Agriculture will hold a public hearing on Nov. 17 at 10 a.m. CST to gather input on the identification and labeling of honey.

The purpose of this hearing is to receive public comment on the department’s proposed standards of identity for honey. The goal is to prevent foreign and imitation honey products from being sold in Tennessee. Consumers will be protected from inferior products and honey producers will have greater confidence in expanding their businesses.

With new regulations in place, the department will have the authority to sample and test honey sold in Tennessee for compliance with the proposed labeling requirements.

Phillipy Named Director of Tennessee Agricultural Museum

Wednesday, October 29, 2014 | 11:02 am
Greg Phillipy
Greg Phillipy

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Department of Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson today announced the appointment of Gregory Phillipy as director of the Tennessee Agricultural Museum.

“We’re excited to have Greg lead our museum at this critical juncture when we’re trying to expand our efforts to better educate and inform children and adults about the importance of agriculture’s past, present and future,”Johnson said. “Along with his Tennessee roots, he brings extensive experience and knowledge that I believe will help the museum stand out and become more relevant in today’s educational and historical communities.”

Phillipy’s appointment is effective immediately as he assumes responsibilities previously performed by Anne Dale who served the museum for 25 years. In this role, Phillipy will oversee the collection and care of more than 3,500 artifacts.  He will also head the educational and outreach programs for the organization.

Scholarships Offered to Specialty Crop Farmers

Monday, October 27, 2014 | 02:32 pm

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Agriculture Market Development Division as part of its Direct Farm Marketing Initiative is offering scholarships to the North American Farm Direct Marketing Association Convention, to be held Feb. 1-­6, 2015 in Nashville and Knoxville. These scholarships are competitive and target farmers who want to learn how to improve marketing of their specialty crops.