Share this: In This Issue: Asst. Commissioner's Message New Ag Enhancement Options A Closer Look at TN Timber TN Tomato Initiative Avian Influenza in U.S. Security Camera Leads to Arrest Ag Crime Investigator Certification Burn Permits Required Tennessee Celebrates Ag Day Calendar April 29 - 30 20th Annual Rural Development Conference, Murfreesboro May 1 - 2 From Assistant Commissioner Carol McDonald: The 109th Tennessee General Assembly wrapped up the first session of its work last week, passing Gov. Bill Haslam’s proposed $33.8 billion FY 2016 state budget. The session marked several noteworthy advancements for both TDA and agriculture. Special thanks go to Majority Sen. Steve Southerland, Carol McDonald, and Leader Mark Norris and Deputy Rep. Curtis Halford Speaker Steve McDaniel for sponsoring and successfully passing TDA's administration bill to modernize the department's licensing, permitting and fee system. The legislation will help increase efficiencies and reduce the burden on businesses. We look forward to working with our industry partners to set a reasonable fee schedule through rulemaking as called for in this milestone legislation. Another important administration bill, which allows the department to take action against unlicensed pest control operators, passed with broad support. Despite another challenging budget year, there were several important funding provisions for Agriculture as proposed by the Governor. Ag Enhancement was again fully funded, including a $250,000 appropriation each for the 4-H and FFA foundations. The final budget also provided funding for the eventual transfer of livestock abuse inspections from Extension to TDA. And, the department received a $1.4 million appropriation to cover May 3 - 9 additional construction costs of a new weights and measures laboratory important for West Tennessee Strawberry Festival, maintaining standards in commerce. Humboldt Another milestone for agriculture, the budget included funding for the purchase of the May 9 - 10 camp-ready Lone Oaks Farm in Hardeman County to serve 4-H and other youth development programs. FFA also got a boost with the addition of regional supervisory UT Blooms Days, Knoxville positions within the Department of Education. May 9 Notwithstanding an increasingly urbanized legislature, the success of this session is a testament to the significant support that agriculture enjoys from the Governor’s Office to Spring City Strawberry Festival, the halls of Legislative Plaza. The department is committed to working with our partners to Dayton ensure that this investment is put to good use in serving our industry and the citizens of May 14 - 15 Tennessee. Hickman Co. Business, Industry and Agriculture Fair, Centerville Historic Rural Life Festival, Nashville Assistant Commissioner Carol McDonald directs policy and legislation for TDA. May 20 New Options Offered with 2015 Ag Enhancement Field Day at Glen Leven Farm, Nashville May 29 TDA has set June 1 – 7 as the application period for the 2015 Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program (TAEP) and is pleased to announce new options with this year’s program. June Dairy Month Luncheon, Nashville June 4 - 6 Tennessee Grocers and Convenience Store Association Convention, Chattanooga June 9 - 15 Clay Co. Fair, Celina June 22 -27 Sumner Co. Fair, Gallatin June 25 Tobacco, Beef and More, Springfield TAEP is a cost-sharing program. Producers fulfill requirements to defray the costs of strategic investments in their operation. Farmers can qualify for up to 50 percent cost share, with a New options offered with 2015 TAEP maximum reimbursement of up to $15,000, depending on the project. Producers may apply online or submit an application by mail, which must be postmarked June 1 through June 7. Program administrator Mark Powell points out that there are several notable changes this year. “As cattle producers work to grow Tennessee’s beef herd, we are pleased to offer a new bred beef heifer cost-share,” Powell said. Learn more. A Closer Look at Tennessee Timber The high-pitched whine of the giant saw rang out, as the teeth sliced through the wood. Over and over the maneuver repeated, until the massive section of tree trunk was transformed to a collection of boards. Though the length of each was uniform, the grain in each was unique—and uniquely beautiful—as they glided by on the conveyor belt. Tour takes a closer look at TN timber That was the scene at Roach Sawmill, a business that employs more than 50 people in rural Savannah, Tennessee. Leaders from the Tennessee departments of Agriculture and Economic and Community Development, along with members of the Tennessee Forestry Association and professionals in forestry and the wood products industry saw Roach’s good work first-hand in April, during a two-day tour highlighting Southwest Tennessee’s forest industries. Learn more. Tomato Growers to Consider Statewide Association Tennessee tomato growers have the opportunity to help build a foundation for their industry’s future at a number of scheduled meetings across the state. The Tennessee Department of Agriculture has been granted federal Specialty Crop Block Grant (SCBG) funds to launch the Tennessee Tomato Initiative. The goal of the initiative is to provide growers necessary Tomato grower meetings scheduled across the information to determine if a state grower-owned organization can increase national recognition and markets for Tennessee tomatoes. The growers will decide by vote in May. Stanley Trout, consultant for the statewide initiative, will host three regional meetings to discuss the benefits of forming a statewide growers association. “The goal of the association would be better promotion of the Tennessee tomato as a brand with inherent qualities, in much the same way that Vidalia onions are promoted,” Trout said. Learn more. Avian Influenza Outbreak Impacting Neighboring States The state veterinarian is advising owners of poultry flocks of an avian influenza outbreak impacting 14 other states. Avian influenza impacting neighboring states “Although this outbreak has not affected flocks in Tennessee, we want owners to be aware of the situation so that they can take steps to protect their birds,” state veterinarian, Charles Hatcher, DVM said. Officials believe water fowl migrating south from Canada are the source for the H5 highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), which is known to be deadly for domesticated turkeys and chickens. The earliest cases were reported in backyard and commercial flocks in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Utah and California. Now the USDA has confirmed positive samples in a total of fourteen states, with Arkansas and Missouri being the closest to Tennessee. Learn more. Security Camera Leads to Theft Arrest A livestock owner’s simple security measure led to the arrest of three suspected cattle thieves. After two dairy calves were stolen from a Bedford County farm in January, the cattle owner installed a trail camera to monitor activity on the farm. That camera captured the theft of a third calf in February. Using the video evidence, detectives with the Bedford Security camera helps recover stolen calves County and Moore County Sheriff’s departments worked with Agricultural Crime Unit investigator Michael Whaley to develop suspects. On February 20 and 21, Jamie Vaughn, Floyd Vaughn and Billy Batten of Moore County were arrested and charged with felony theft of property. Learn more. Ag Crime Unit Investigator Receives Video Surveillance Certification Video surveillance continues to grow in importance for catching those who commit agricultural crimes, and TDA’s Agricultural Crime Unit is keeping up with the most current technology to help protect rural citizens. Criminal investigator Mike Whaley, recently became certified to shoot video during surveillance in the “Video Surveillance for Law Enforcement” class hosted by the Regional Counterdrug Training Academy in Nashville. Mike Whaley, Ag Crime Investigator The class instructor, Wadi Sawabini, has taught thousands of federal and state law enforcement officers how to shoot video that will successfully stand up in court. Whaley will combine this with his previous surveillance training on how to make and set up devices to catch criminals. "My previous training has already proven to be a valuable resource for catching wildland arsonists and cattle rustlers," Whaley said. "I hope the video surveillance training will not only help us catch more criminals, but also win more cases when we go to court." Learn more. If You Have Brush to Burn, Don't Forget the Permit The winter’s storms were hard on Tennessee’s landscape. Heavy ice brought down limbs and trees across the state. Brush pile burning is one of the best ways for landowners to clean up woody debris from the storms and TDA’s Division of Forestry is reminding citizens that outdoor burning requires a permit through May 15. Burn permits help prevent wildfires “Burning woody debris from the ice storms is an efficient way of getting rid of such material,” State Forester Jere Jeter said. “However, it is very important that citizens be safe when conducting a debris burn. Obtaining a burn permit in advance of outdoor burning is our way of making a landowner aware of when, where, and how it is safe to burn.” Learn more. Ag Day in Tennessee Marked by High-Profile Events To celebrate the abundance provided by the farms and producers across the state, Gov. Bill Haslam proclaimed March 18 as Agriculture Day in Tennessee. The day coincided with National Agriculture Day and was recognized with two high-profile events in Nashville. The first, a Celebrity Omelet Cook-off, took place at the Tennessee Residence in Speaker Beth Harwell and team celebrate their Conservation Hall. News corn-shelling victory personalities from the four Nashville television stations competed against each other to see who could cook the best tasting omelet and the omelet with the best presentation. Ag industry insiders and supporters, commodity groups, farmers, 4-H and FFA members, Miss Tennessee Hayley Lewis, and even Tennessee’s First Lady Crissy Haslam and her Executive Chef, Stephen Ward were all on hand to support Tennessee agriculture. Learn more. Ellington Agricultural Center | 440 Hogan Road | Nashville, TN 37220 www.TN.gov/agriculture This email was sent to [email protected] To ensure that you continue receiving our emails, please add us to your address book or safe list. manage your preferences | opt out using TrueRemove®. Got this as a forward? Sign up to receive our future emails.