AG Leaders Develop Strategic Plan To Grow Tennessee Agriculture And Forestry Over Next Decade

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Tennessee’s top agricultural leaders on Tuesday 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 Governor 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.”

The plan highlights 27 action steps which focus on building production capacity and incentivizing the private sector through four major recommendations:

·         Advance agriculture, natural resources and rural infrastructure as Tennessee business priorities.

·         Ensure a positive and predictable regulatory and policy environment for Tennessee agriculture and natural resources.

·         Expand marketing opportunities for Tennessee producers and encourage new production systems and agribusinesses.

·         Increase the scope and depth of a skilled and educated workforce through career, technical and higher education. 

Tennessee Farm Bureau president Lacy Upchurch, UT Institute of Agriculture Chancellor Larry Arrington and Johnson presented the plan to the governor at the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation’s annual meeting held this week in Franklin, Tn.

The three leaders guided the development of the plan with the help of a steering committee of 28 Tennessee farmers, business leaders and commodity representatives.    

“The governor will be proud of what we’ve done in agriculture,” Ms. Upchurch said. “Working together, we can make agriculture stronger and rural communities and farms more successful, resulting in complete economic development in Tennessee.” 

Governor Haslam last year asked the group to help develop a 10-year plan that was “practical, affordable and actionable.” State agriculture leaders say the plan focuses less on public funding and more on how to incentivize private sector investment, innovation and entrepreneurship.   

“Agriculture and forestry is a $66 billion industry and accounts for 10 percent of state employment,” Mr. Arrington said. “We’re stepping out and making a statement about the importance of agriculture, natural resources and rural Tennessee to the future of this state.”

The plan also endorses Governor Haslam’s “Drive to 55” initiative, which calls for more than half the state’s population to earn a post secondary degree or certificate by 2025. Industry leaders say having a more educated population will help our rural economies as jobs in agriculture become more skill-based and high-tech. 

To view the complete plan, visit the Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s website at www.tn.gov/agriculture/ruralchallenge.  


Local Female-Based Entrepreneurial Group Announces 2nd Annual Symposium

The WE | women entrepreneur symposium (formerly named Women At The Top Symposium or W.A.T.T.S) will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 5, from 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at Stratton Hall. Honorary WE Chairperson Congressman Chuck Fleischmann invites all women entrepreneurs to a symposium featuring Sloane Scott, a.k.a. the “Digital Diva” of FLO Thinkery, as the keynote speaker, and a panel discussion. ... (click for more)

New Hamilton County Businesses

Here are the new business licenses from the County Clerk's office: COFFEE STAINED TAG COMPANY 7363 PFIZER DR OOLTEWAH, TN 37363   PUBLIX TENNESSEE LLC #1460 400 N MARKET ST CHATTANOOGA, TN 37405   PUBLIX TENNESSEE LLC #1460 400 N MARKET ST CHATTANOOGA, TN 37405   2 Flea Charmers 1012 Carter Drive Chattanooga, TN 37415   ... (click for more)

Erlanger Health System Projecting $10.8 Million Profit - With Help From $19 Million In Federal Funds

Erlanger Health System is projecting a $10.8 million profit for the upcoming fiscal year - with the help of $19 million in federal funds from a pool for public hospitals. The $19 million received in time for the current budget helped avoid a sizable deficit. The hospital is hoping the federal funds will be coming on an annual basis. At the start of the last fiscal year, ... (click for more)

History Center Gets $400,000 Grant From National Endowment For The Arts

The National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded grants totaling more than $800,000 to three Tennessee projects that aim to display and preserve historical materials. Winning grants Monday included the Chattanooga History Center, which will get $400,000 to install a permanent, multimedia exhibit on the history of Chattanooga. The University of Tennessee-Knoxville will ... (click for more)

Vote To Retain Supreme Court Justices

On Aug. 7 or by voting early by Aug. 2, voters will choose to "retain" or "replace" Tennessee Supreme Court Justices Connie Clark, Sharon Lee and Gary Wade. If retained, they will serve for another eight years.  The retention election is a way to retain judges who make decisions based on the law and facts -or remove judges who are incompetent. Tennessee's Judicial Performance ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Judge Philyaw Is The Best

Tomorrow morning there will be a special gathering at the Hamilton County Juvenile Court that will prove to our community that we have perhaps the most innovative juvenile judge in America. Shortly after Rob Philyaw was hand-picked by our Hamilton County Commissioners to fill the remainder of Suzanne Bailey’s term 15 months ago, he found that truancy was a big problem in our schools. ... (click for more)