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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
April 29 - 30
20th Annual Rural Development
Conference, Murfreesboro
May 1 - 2
From Assistant
Commissioner Carol
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
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.
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
ensure that this investment is put to good use in serving our industry and the citizens of
May 14 - 15
Hickman Co. Business, Industry and
Agriculture Fair, Centerville
Historic Rural Life Festival,
Assistant Commissioner Carol McDonald directs policy and legislation for TDA.
May 20
New Options Offered
with 2015 Ag
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,
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Ellington Agricultural Center | 440 Hogan Road | Nashville, TN 37220
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