Share This:
Rural Routes

Commissioner Julius JohnsonMessage from Commissioner Julius Johnson

Agriculture and forestry have a $78 billion impact to our state’s economy and employ more than half a million Tennesseans. Our farms and forests also contribute to the beauty of our landscape and the quality of life that we enjoy. I salute all our fairs for highlighting this important industry sector.

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture has been supporting agriculture through fairs and exhibitions since 1854, and our partnership with the Tennessee State Fair represents our commitment to this mission.

Our State Fair is changing under the direction of a dedicated group of individuals who have come together for one purpose – to reflect the best our state has to offer in all aspects of culture, education and commerce. This is a wonderful opportunity for all of us to help set the direction of our State Fair. I encourage you to join me in supporting this year’s Tennessee State Fair by getting involved as a visitor, exhibitor or volunteer.

We are proud to support the State Fair as we do for more than 60 county and regional fairs statewide. I hope you’ll join us for a wonderful and fun-filled time at the fair because it is with you that the Tradition Lives On!

For more information or to volunteer, visit

Divider Bar

TDA Weights & Measures inspector collects fuel quality sampleHaslams Support Pick Tennessee Products
Gov. Bill Haslam and First Lady Crissy Haslam recently honored Tennessee farmers and farm products, celebrating the 25th anniversary of Pick Tennessee Products at the Tennessee Residence.

Pick Tennessee Products is the promotional campaign through the Tennessee Department of Agriculture that works to connect consumers with locally made food products. Consumers can visit the Pick Tennessee Products website to locate one of the more than 1,600 farmers in Tennessee that produce nearly 6,000 farm products.

“We have a vibrant and strong agricultural economy in Tennessee and some of the best farms in the nation. Crissy and I want to show our support by picking and serving Tennessee products whenever we can,” Haslam said. “The Pick Tennessee Products campaign has been going strong for 25 years and is a great way for consumers to connect with farmers and support the local economy.”

On Wednesday, 25 Tennessee farmers brought their commodities for the residence’s chef Matt Gallaher to prepare a meal.

“Bill and I enjoyed sharing a meal with our local farmers and getting to know them,” Crissy Haslam said. “Today’s consumers want to know where and how their food is grown and prepared. Pick Tennessee Products is a great way for Tennesseans to do this while providing their families with the freshest most wholesome products available.”

“Many young and innovative farmers are finding success in supplying local markets. Buying local not only keeps our rural economy strong, but it provides consumers with fresher and healthier products,” Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson said. “I want to thank the governor and First Lady for showing their support. I hope all Tennesseans will follow their example and pick Tennessee products when possible.”

For more information on Pick Tennessee Products, visit or

Photos of the event are available at

Divider Bar

TDA Weights & Measures inspector collects fuel quality sampleNational Folk Festival Comes to Tennessee
The National Folk Festival is coming to Nashville’s Bicentennial Mall Labor Day weekend September 2-4, 2011. This festival is the longest-running celebration of traditional music and arts in the country -- and it’s FREE! For 72 years, the National Folk Festival has been bringing the best in traditional music, dance and arts to audiences throughout America. With more than 250 performers and craftspeople, the festival offers something for people of all ages.

Performers in Nashville will include Green Fields of America (Irish American), Mariachi Los Camperos de Nati Cano (Mexican mariachi), Dale Ann Bradley (bluegrass), BeauSoleil (cajun), The Holmes Brothers (blues, gospel, R&B), La Excelencia (salsa dura), Roan Mountain Hilltoppers (Appalachian old-time string band) and many more. In addition to music, festival audiences will enjoy a Folklife Area curated by the Country Music Hall of Fame, a family area, a festival marketplace and a regionally-inspired food court.

For more information, to get involved or to help support this free event in Nashville, visit

Divider Bar

TDA Animal Disease Diagnostic Lab Receives Reaccreditation
TDA’s CE Kord Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory has achieved full accreditation under the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians requirements. This accreditation follows a stringent list of requirements and is only awarded to those laboratories that provide the highest quality of diagnostic service.

The lab is audited every five years for reaccreditation. The lab was up for its audit in 2009, but was granted an extension due to the death of Dr. Ron Wilson. Dr. Ed McKinley succeeded Dr. Wilson and the audit began in 2010.

"We've all worked very hard for this accomplishment," said Kaye Tipton, supervisor of Serology and Safety Manager of the lab. "We have achieved this full accreditation before. This audit means that we have continued to maintain that high level of quality in our laboratory diagnostic service."

Divider Bar

Community GardenIt's Fair Season - Check Out Your Local County Fair
It’s that time of year again; time to go to the fair. Counties across the state are celebrating traditions at their local county fair. There are still opportunities to participate in many county fairs through a variety of competitions. Categories can range from quilts to canning and even cookies. To find moreinformation on a county fair in your area, visit

Divider Bar


Sept 3-11 Tennessee Soybean Festival (Martin)
Sept 9-18 Tennessee State Fair (Nashville)
Oct 15-16 Music & Molasses Arts & Crafts Festival (Nashville)

Ellington Agricultural Center | 440 Hogan Road | Nashville, TN 37220