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Rural Routes

In This Issue

Commissioner's Message

EAB Quarantine Expanded

New Faces at TDA

Summer Saturdays

Forestry Commission Appointments

Industrial Hemp Webpage

65th Annual TN Forestry Camp


June 23-28

Tennessee State 4-H Horse Championships, Shelbyville

June 26

Tobacco, Beef and More, Springfield

June 28

Dresden Farmers Market Grand Opening Media Days, Dresden

July 7-9

Tennessee Junior Livestock Exposition Beef Cattle Show, Murfreesboro

July 10

Summer Celebration Lawn and Garden Show, Jackson

July 12

Cooper-Young Farmers Market Media Days, Memphis

July 14-16

Tennessee Junior Livestock Exposition Sheep Show, Cookeville

July 15

Pick Tennessee Products Peach Media Day, Milldale

July 17

TSU Small Farm Expo, Nashville

July 17

Tobacco and Forage Production Field Day, Greeneville

July 24

Milan No-Till Field Day, Milan

July 29-31

Tennessee Agriculture Production Association Meeting, Murfreesboro

Aug. 5

Steak and Potatoes Field Day, Crossville




From Commissioner Julius Johnson:

Anyone in agriculture knows a farmer is busy all year long. Still, this is the season that farms and farm people are front and center for everyone who eats. Farmers markets are opening all across the state, and the signs of summertime are everywhere from fresh produce and fields of corn to baled hay and cattle grazing.

This summer, however, you'll soon see some new signs, if you haven't already--actual signs, directing Tennesseans to download the new Pick Tennessee mobile app. As part of a USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant, we have launched a statewide campaign to let consumers know there’s a new way to find the farms, farmers markets, nurseries and greenhouses, fruits, vegetables and honey closest to them. Through August, Pick Tennessee will be featured on television, radio, and for the first time ever, billboards in prominent, densely populated areas across the state.

The free Pick Tennessee mobile app allows users to search for local products, then get GPS mapping from wherever they are. The app also links back to the comprehensive PTP website for complete access to consumer and producer information. I'm so proud that we can offer this great new service benefiting all citizens by helping farmers and customers connect in a more immediate, local and direct way than ever before. It's just one more sign of our commitment to help build a Tennessee with healthier people and a healthier economy.

Plant this new app in your phone today, and help Tennessee grow!

Putnam County and five additional East Tennessee counties quarantined for EAB

A quarantine for Emerald Ash Borer, an invasive insect that destroys ash trees has been expanded to include another Middle Tennessee county and five more northeastern Tennessee counties. Putnam, Sullivan, Washington, Unicoi, Carter and Johnson counties have been added to the list of areas restricted for the movement of ash trees and ash tree products. This brings the total number of Tennessee counties under a state and federal EAB quarantine to 27.

Over the past three years, the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and the Tennessee Department of Agriculture have regulated only the counties where at least one EAB specimen was detected. EAB has been found in Putnam County, but because small EAB populations can sometimes go undetected, TDA is taking the precautionary measure of expanding the EAB quarantine to the five northeastern counties without a positive detection.

"Because EAB has been found in all the East Tennessee areas surrounding these counties there is a high likelihood that it is there as well, but has so far, gone undetected," Gray Haun, TDA's Plant Certification administrator said. "We feel it is in the best interest of the state to go ahead and quarantine these locations."

Quarantining the five outlier counties will actually reduce the regulatory burden on the forest products industry and consumers across the region. Currently, anyone moving ash product or ash firewood from a quarantine area to a non-quarantine area must be under a compliance agreement with USDA-APHIS and TDA and ash logs can only move during non-flight periods for the pest. The quarantine expansion will allow the free movement of ash materials across contiguous counties within the quarantine area.

The insect has been previously found through the EAB detection program deployed by TDA and USDA-APHIS where purple box traps are placed in trees.

EAB is a destructive forest pest that was introduced from Asia into the United States in the 1990's. Over the past decade, EAB has spread to 21 states and parts of Canada. This pest was first detected in Tennessee in 2010 in Knox County. Since that time, it has spread to 22 counties throughout East and Middle Tennessee.

The EAB quarantine prohibits the movement of firewood, ash nursery stock, ash timber and other material that can spread EAB. Citizens should report any symptomatic ash trees to TDA and follow these simple rules:

Leave firewood at home. Don’t transport firewood, even within the state.

Use firewood from local sources near where you're going to burn it, or purchase firewood that is certified to be free of pests (it will say so on the label included with the packaging).

If you have moved firewood, burn all of it before leaving your campsite.

Watch for signs of infestation in your ash trees. If you suspect your ash tree could be infested with EAB, visit for a symptoms checklist and report form or call TDA’s Consumer and Industry Services Division at 1-800-628-2631.

For more information about EAB and other destructive forest pests in Tennessee, visit the new website: The site is a multi-agency effort to inform and educate Tennesseans on the harmful impacts insects and diseases have on our trees, where the problem spots are, and what landowners can do to help protect their trees.

New Faces at TDA

Dr. Bruce McLaughlin, a familiar face for many, has returned to TDA as the new director of the Kord Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory and Mike Brown is the new outreach coordinator for the Food and Dairy section of the Consumer and Industry Services Division.

McLaughlin was a veterinary pathologist at Kord from 2007 to 2012, spending several months in 2012 as acting director. He has 33 years of experience as a pathologist.

"We are very happy to have Bruce back with us to manage the Kord Diagnostic Lab," CIS assistant commissioner Jimmy Hopper said. "We already know he is a very talented veterinary pathologist and will be a great leader for our lab."

In addition to being a veterinary pathologist, McLaughlin serves as an editor for the publications division of the American Veterinary Medical Association.

"I look forward to once again being a part of the great work being done at the Kord Diagnostic Lab," McLaughlin said. "One of my main priorities will be to ensure that customer service of the highest quality is provided to referring veterinarians and animal owners who utilize the laboratory."

Kord Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory provides no-cost food animal, fiber animal and equine animal testing and markedly reduced-cost companion animal testing for pet owners of Tennessee.

As the new outreach coordinator for the Food and Dairy section of the Consumer and Industry Services Division, Mike Brown will be interacting with the public and the regulated community regarding food safety issues. He will be primarily focusing on requests for information from new entrants into food manufacturing and sales businesses.

"We're seeing a boom in interest by individuals wanting to start a new food related business," Hopper said. "We want to help these businesses not only comply with food safety and other requirements, but to succeed. We're proud to have Mike join us as he will be leading our efforts to provide this important customer service."

Brown will take a proactive approach in reaching out to provide advice and instructions in becoming appropriately permitted or inspected if necessary.

An extensive background in the food industry has prepared Brown for this role. He has worked with companies like A.E. Staley Manufacturing Company, Made-Rite Sandwich Company, Chairman's Choice Foods, Whitlock Packaging Corporation and his own southeast regional food brokerage business. He is a native of Wayne County with a degree in food science and technology from the University of Tennessee and is completing a masters degree in agricultural education at Tennessee State University.

Family Fun Every Weekend in July at the Tennessee Agricultural Museum

The Tennessee Agricultural Museum is the place for family fun during the month of July. Summer Saturdays have fun-filled activities that spotlight farm happenings from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., each Saturday July 5 - 26.

From wagon rides and horse shows to special activities at the Strasser Experience Center, there will be different things for families to see and do each weekend. Grooming and riding miniature donkeys, milking goats, chasing butterflies, tasting farm favorites, petting animals, making soap or stopping by the cabins to see sheep shearing and spinning wheels--it's a smorgasbord of activities! The museum, located at the Ellington Agricultural Center, features a two-story barn with more than 3,500 artifacts plus log cabins, a farmhouse, gardens and nature trails.

You can also drop by the museum during the week to browse and see exhibits that include farm equipment, household items, buggies, wagons, wood working tools and quilts.

For a schedule and more information about Summer Saturdays, call 615-837-5197 or find us on Facebook.

New Forestry Commission Appointments Announced

Gov. Bill Haslam recently announced the appointment of three new members to the Tennessee Forestry Commission. The appointments include Charles Daugherty of Crossville, Alexandra Motlow Richman of Lynchburg and Michael Witt of Cookeville.

"I appreciate the commitment of these men and women and want to thank them for their willingness to serve the state," Haslam said.

Charles Daugherty, representing landowners of less than 500 acres, has been a Certified Tree Farmer for 20 years. He and his wife Linda, who is also very active in promoting forestry, live on their Stewardship Forest near Crossville where they manage mixed hardwoods and white pines. In addition to serving on the commission, Charles is also the chairman of the Tennessee Farm Bureau Forestry Committee, president of the Cumberland County Forestry Association, a Tennessee Forestry Association Board member and a member of the Tennessee Tree Farm Committee. He has received numerous awards for promoting forest stewardship including the Tennessee Governor’s Agriculture Forestry Stewardship Award, Tennessee Tree Farmer of the Year and the Arbor Day Foundation National Good Steward Award.

Alex Motlow Richman, representing landowners of greater than 500 acres, is a forest landowner in Moore County where she is the chief operating officer for Cumberland Springs Land Company, LLC. She has a bachelor’s degree in Natural Resources from the University of the South in Sewanee and is currently pursuing a masters degree in Forestry from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. "I grew up playing in the woods on my grandfather's farm and I have a passion for helping others keep forest land within their families. I am looking forward to serving on the Tennessee Forestry Commission and being an advocate for family forest landowners." Alex is an avid outdoors woman and enjoys hiking, hunting, fly fishing, gardening and woodworking.

Mike Witt, representing the public at-large, graduated from the University of Tennessee in 1970 with a bachelors degree inForest Management and a masters in Forest Business in 1972. He was employed by Norwalk Furniture Corporation for 36 years as their raw materials manager where his primary responsibilities included log and timber operations, lumber grading, sawmilling, dry kilns, and lumber sales, both foreign and domestic. He ended his tenure there as vice-president of manufacturing. Mike is presently treasurer of the Tennessee Forestry Association, chairman of the Cookeville Tree Board, and board member of the Upper Cumberland Forestry Association.

These three appointments replace out-going commission members John Ross of Savannah, Paul Trianosky of Mountain City and James Reeves of Stanton.

"We welcome the new commission members and look forward to working with them on issues important to the Division of Forestry and we also want to thank John Ross, Paul Trianosky and Jimmy Reeves for their outstanding service to the commission over the past few years," state forester and assistant commissioner Jere Jeter said.

The Tennessee Forestry Commission, established in 1985, serves in an advisory capacity on forestry policy to the governor and the Tennessee Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry. The commission reviews the division's programs ranging from fire protection and landowner assistance to state forest management and forest business development. The Commission is also charged with recommending candidates for state forester, reviewing the division’s annual operating budget and preparing an annual report to the legislature.

Industrial Hemp Information Available on New Website

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture is working to fulfill the requirements of Public Chapter 916, which was recently passed by the General Assembly and signed by the Governor. It directs the department to develop a licensing and inspection program for the production of industrial hemp in Tennessee.

To help potential growers and others interested in industrial hemp, TDA has launched a website with information, resources and updates on the topic. Preliminary rules are currently posted but will be refined and made available for public review and comment later this summer through state's notification and public hearing process.

"Our goal to develop reasonable rules and regulations that will allow for the cultivation of hemp beginning in 2015 and that will lead to the development of a viable industrial hemp industry in Tennessee," Consumer and Industry Services administrative manager David Waddell said. "As with any proposed rulemaking, we intend to seek broad public input with the goal of developing the best program possible."

The new website also identifies issues of concern to potential growers such as the apparent conflict between provisions of the federal Farm Bill that permit industrial hemp production for research and development and the DEA's enforcement of Cannabis as a controlled substance.

To stay informed about the rule-making process and to read more information, visit the TDA Industrial Hemp webpage.

FFA Students Attend 65th Annual Tennessee Forestry Camp

This year marked the 65th consecutive Tennessee Forestry Camp, which was held at Fall Creek Falls State Park May 25-30. The camp introduced Future Farmers of America students to the multifaceted field of forestry and its practices through field lessons including ecology, volume calculations, tree identification, insects and diseases, fire protection, planning, urban forestry, wildlife and reforestation. The courses were taught by foresters from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry, consulting foresters and a forester from Domtar Paper Company.

Career and Technical Education teachers from around the state attended as counselors and learned a thing or two as well to take back to incorporate into their curricula. It was a great week of conservation education, leadership building, and the formation of lifelong friendships. In a show of support, Commissioner Johnson attended and participated in a day at Forestry Camp.

FFA students from across the state representing 23 FFA chapters attended camp. Many arrived not quite knowing what to expect, but left wanting to return next year. "Awesome! This has been the funniest I have ever had at camp. Making new friends and just talking with foresters is what makes this camp awesome", one camper said in their evaluation.

Year after year Tennessee Forestry Camp introduces students to career options in forestry in addition to forming lasting relationships and an opportunity to spend a week in the forest and recreate at camp. The camp is sponsored by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry, Tennessee Association Future Farmers of America, Tennessee Forestry Association and Domtar Paper Company.

To get a glimpse of camp, visit the Division of Forestry's YouTube channel for a week-in-review slideshow video.

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