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.”

Tennessee State Fair and Exposition Commission to Meet Dec. 20

Monday, December 09, 2013 | 04:58 pm

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee State Fair and Exposition Commission will meet Dec. 20 at 2 p.m. CST at the Ed Jones Auditorium, located at Ellington Agricultural Center, 416 Hogan Road in Nashville. 

The commission will consider action on a recommendation from the Request for Proposal evaluation team regarding the selection of an operator for the 2014 – 2018 state fairs. The meeting may be conducted permitting electronic means of communication by some members of the commission. The meeting is open to the public.

The Tennessee State Fair and Exposition Commission was created by the Tennessee General Assembly in 2012 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.”

State’s “Pick Tennessee” Program Updates Image, Services

Monday, December 09, 2013 | 10:01 am

NASHVILLE -- The Tennessee Department of Agriculture today unveiled a new look and improved features for the popular Pick Tennessee Products consumer site. A simplified, phone friendly logo icon and increased Web capabilities are part of a push by the department to maximize its consumer and producer services. 

Ensuring full digital access, including “responsive” Web design, with each page conforming to the shape of whatever type of screen displays it, is part of a larger process leading to the launch of a mobile app in early 2014. The new free mobile app will allow users to locate the farms and products closest to them through direct GPS mapping as well as provide access to the full Pick Tennessee site.

“We’re putting our farmers, programs and products in front of consumers as never before,” announced Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson. “We’re reaching out to consumers where they already expect to find us—on their phones, through mobile apps and other digital services.”

Freshest Gift Idea This Holiday Season? A Whole Year of Local Foods

Wednesday, December 04, 2013 | 02:07 pm

NASHVILLE - Retail aisles, catalogs and cyberspace are stuffed with things to buy. Still, somehow, there often seems to be little of real substance to give. When you want your gift to be a true reflection of how much you care, it can be hard to find a stand-out present, one that really meets a need and will be appreciated all through the year.

For those who like to “live local,” the perfect solution may be a gift certificate for a year of fresh produce and other local foods from a nearby Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm. Everyone eats, and everyone benefits from eating fresh produce. With a CSA gift certificate, both the person who receives fresh foods and the CSA farmer are better off.

In a CSA, a farmer contracts with other people in the community to provide them with a portion of the year’s harvest. CSA customers pay the farmer before the produce season begins, allowing the farmer to buy necessary seed, fertilizer, fuel and other inputs necessary to farm for the year. When crops start coming in, the customer’s fresh, local food is already bought and paid for. CSA members might go to the farm to pick up their shares or meet the farmer at a drop-off site in the community.