TDA Now Accepting Water Quality Grant Proposals

Wednesday, October 30, 2013 | 01:57 pm

-Funds support projects aimed at improving water quality and reducing pollution-

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Agriculture is now accepting grant proposals for projects that will help improve water quality and reduce or eliminate nonpoint source pollution. The deadline for submitting grant proposals is Dec. 1. Proposals will be evaluated based on program goals and objectives, performance evaluation criteria and applicable EPA nonpoint source grant guidelines.  

“We’re able to make measurable improvements in water quality in watersheds across the state through the Nonpoint Source Pollution Program,” Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson said. “This is a great opportunity for local governments and other organizations to partner with us in addressing water quality issues in both our urban and rural communities.”

Local governments, regional agencies, public institutions, private nonprofit organizations and other state agencies are eligible to apply for federal dollars administered by TDA’s Water Resources office. Priority is given to projects that seek to make measurable improvements to waters known to be impaired by nonpoint source pollution.

Tennessee Viticulture Advisory Board to Meet

Tuesday, October 29, 2013 | 11:17 am

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Viticulture Advisory Board will meet Nov. 12 at 10 a.m. CST at DelMonaco Winery, located at 600 Lance Dr. in Baxter, Tenn. The agenda includes planning for the 2014 VAB report, CSA grape crop reporting and listing grapes in Tennessee ag statistics. 

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 State Fair and Exposition Commission to Meet Nov. 7

Monday, October 21, 2013 | 04:27 pm

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee State Fair and Exposition Commission will meet Nov. 7 at 1 p.m. CST in the Ed Jones Auditorium at Ellington Agricultural Center, located at 416 Hogan Road in Nashville. 

The commission will review and approve previous meeting minutes; hear reports on the 2013 Tennessee State Fair, Metro Fair Board activities and the Kentucky State Fair; discuss commission goals and objectives; and, consider approval of a request for proposal for selecting future state fair operators. The meeting is open to the public.

Music and Molasses Festival Offers a Weekend of Family Fun

Thursday, October 17, 2013 | 01:54 pm
Music & Molasses Festival
Music & Molasses Festival

NASHVILLE -- The annual Music & Molasses Arts & Crafts Festival will feature an array of events including authentic molasses-making, live music, square dancing, specialty foods and arts and crafts. The festival also includes free horse-drawn wagon rides. 

Festival exhibits will include a rare private collection of more than 10,000 butterflies and moths dating back to the 1800s, on public display for the first time ever. Children’s activities include pony rides, goat milking, meeting Smokey Bear, touring Smokey’s log cabin, climbing a fire tower and farmer-for-a-day. 

Admission is $5. Children 4 and under are free and parking is free. All proceeds go the benefit the Tennessee Agricultural Museum, which provides educational programming for adults and children on agriculture’s past, present and future.

State and Local Agencies Announce Nashville Urban Runoff 5K and Water Festival

Wednesday, October 16, 2013 | 03:27 pm

Inaugural Event to Be Held October 26 at Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park

Nashville – The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry’s Urban Riparian Buffer Program, Nashville’s Metro Water Services and the Tennessee Stormwater Association are teaming up to host the inaugural Nashville Urban Runoff 5K and Water Festival on Saturday, October 26.

TDA Recognizes Outstanding Forestry Employees

Monday, October 14, 2013 | 08:32 am

Annual awards are Division of Forestry’s highest honor

NASHVILLE - Regional Urban Forester Tom Simpson and Forestry Aide Denny Parker were recently recognized as Forester of the Year and Employee of the Year respectively by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry. The awards are presented annually to a forester and employee who exemplify the highest level of professionalism in serving the citizens of Tennessee.

“The citizens of Tennessee are fortunate to have such dedicated individuals working to improve the sustainability and quality of our urban forests, providing landowner services and protecting our forest resources,” State Forester Jere Jeter said.

Music & Molasses Festival Offers a Weekend of Family Fun

Thursday, October 10, 2013 | 11:58 am

NASHVILLE – The annual Music & Molasses Arts & Crafts Festival on Oct. 19 and 20 at Ellington Agricultural Center in Nashville will feature an array of events that are sure to please the whole family.

“It’s a weekend of family fun with molasses making and tasting, music shows, square dancing and delicious food,” said Anne Dale, director of the Tennessee Agricultural Museum. “From the free horse-drawn wagon rides, to the beautiful hand-crafted items, there’s something for everyone, including many activities for the kids.”

Children can see and touch farm animals, take a pony ride, milk a goat, visit with Smokey Bear, tour Smokey’s log cabin, climb the fire tower with their parents or find the Country Hollow for farmer-for-day activities.

Tennessee Observes National Fire Prevention Week by Reminding Citizens to Burn Safe

Wednesday, October 09, 2013 | 12:06 pm

-TDA’s Division of Forestry begins requiring burn permits Oct. 15-

NASHVILLE - The Tennessee Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry and the Department of Commerce and Insurance’s Division of Fire Prevention are observing National Fire Prevention Week (Oct. 6-12), by reminding homeowners to follow simple safety practices to prevent wildfires. The official start of wildfire season in Tennessee is Oct. 15.

“Burning vegetative material that has accumulated around the yard or using fire to clear an old field can be an efficient way to get rid of debris,” State Forester Jere Jeter said. “However, this activity needs to be done safely. The division’s burn permit system focuses attention on the safe use of fire for debris burning.”

Activities requiring a burn permit include unconfined outdoor burning of brush, leaves, and untreated wood waste and burning to clear land. Burn permits are free of charge. Citizens can apply for burning permits online or by calling their local Division of Forestry office between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Forestry offices are listed in your local phone directory under state government, or can be found by visiting The website also includes tips for safe debris burning and provides access to the online permitting system. Permit holders should also check for other restrictions in their locale as some counties and municipalities have their own regulations.

Plenty of Rainfall Makes State’s Sorghum Crop a Sweet Success

Wednesday, October 02, 2013 | 11:01 am
Sorghum Granola
Sorghum Granola

NASHVILLE -- Sorghum is one of several crops in Tennessee that seems to have benefited from a rainy summer. Some highly anticipated fall crops, like pumpkins, have suffered in some parts of the state due to excess moisture and lack of sun. Others, like corn and sorghum, are on track for record harvests if current patterns of sunny, less-humid weather hold.

Sorghum syrup is a treasured traditional Tennessee food produced when the extracted juice from the sorghum plant is boiled down.  Tennessee is one of the nation’s leading states in sorghum syrup production.

Sorghum was the main sweetener and an important nutrition source for American colonists and pioneers. It remained America’s primary sweetener right up to the beginning of the 20th century.

Guthrie’s Has Farm Animals, Playgrounds, Fall Décor - Oh, And Redneck Zombies

Tuesday, October 01, 2013 | 01:40 pm

--Media Day at Area Farm Offers Close Up Look at Fall Farm Fun—

NASHVILLE - Guthrie Pumpkin Farm and Corn Maze near Riceville in McMinn County will host a Pick Tennessee Products media day on Thursday, October 3 to showcase fall farm fun. Media will have the opportunity to interview the farmers and area officials, get footage or images of activities and visitors, take a tour of the farm, and receive a “goody bag” including digital images and information about local foods and farms for fall and the holidays.

This year’s cool, rainy summer may have been a mixed blessing for area farmers, helping some crops and hampering others. For agritourism farmers like the Guthrie family, however, their biggest crop is fun, and Guthrie’s Pumpkin Farm and Corn Maze has fun in abundance. In addition to traditional and educational children’s activities including hayrides, a visit to the pumpkin patch, and petting farm animals, this farm goes all out to connect with every age group. That’s where “Redneck Zombie Paintball” comes in, and how the year’s maze got its “Game of Corn” theme. On weekends through October, the farm transforms from family friendly to, well, zombie friendly.