Farmers hear about state finanical program

Friday, April 24, 2009

Marshall County farmers heard about opportunities to receive money from the state in the agriculture enhancement program this year at a program held at the Marshall Farmers Co-op Monday evening.

About 20 farmers heard a presentation from Ricky Skillington, the county extension agent, and Rachel Upton, from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture.

Skillington and Upton told the group about the application and about changes to the cost-share program for the 2009-2010 year. The program areas are: cattle genetics (beef and dairy); livestock equipment (beef and dairy); hay, livestock feed, and grain storage; the Verified Incentive Program (formerly the feeder calf program); and producer diversification.

The goal of the producer diversification program is to encourage agricultural producers to expand or improve their operations through the production of diversified agricultural products. For purposes of this cost share program, diversified agricultural products are defined to include: the priority areas of agritourism, honey bees, organics, and viticulture (growing grapes for wine), as well as aquaculture, fruits and vegetables, horticulture, and value-added products.

Applications for the cost-share program may be picked up at the extension office, farm service agencies, farm bureau offices, and retail outlets like the Co-op. It can also be downloaded from the Web site (Click on TN Ag Enhancement Cost Share Programs on the home page.)

Skllington and Upton told the group that if they wanted to apply for the Producer Diversification part of the program, they needed to see one of them individually for help.

The completed application needs to be turned in to Skillington at the extension office in the Hardison Office Annex, 230 College Street, Lewisburg, by the June 1 deadline. Skillington plans to hand deliver the applications to the Tennessee Department of Agriculture himself.

Since 2005 the Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program (TAEP) has supported agriculture in Tennessee by providing cost share funds for long-term investments in Tennessee's livestock and farming operations. Participation in this program has allowed producers to maximize farm profits, adapt to changing market situations, improve operation safety, increase farm efficiency and make positive economic impacts in their communities.

TAEP is a direct result of the State of Tennessee's continued commitment to supporting farm development and Tennessee's agricultural community.