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Rural Routes

In This Issue

Commissioner's Message

Pick Tennessee App Update

Livestock Traceability Rule

EAB Quarantine Expanded

Music and Molasses Festival

Forestry Centennial Celebration

Tennessee State Fair Preview


Local and Regional Fairs

Aug 20-30

Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration, Shelbyville

Aug 28-Sep 6

Tennessee Soybean Festival, Martin

Sep 5-14

Tennessee State Fair, Nashville

Sep 11

Turf and Ornamental Field Day, Knoxville

Sep 11

Main Street Farmers Market PTP Media Day, Chattanooga

Sep 17

TSU AG Biosciences Building Dedication, Nashville

Sep 18-19

Tennessee Urban Forestry Annual Conference, Nashville

Sep 18-20

National Hay Association Annual Convention, Memphis

Sep 20

Market Square Farmers Market PTP Media Day, Knoxville

Sep 24

East Nashville Farmers Market PTP Media Day, Nashville

Oct 5-11

National 4-H Week

Oct 9

North East Tennessee Beef Expo, Greeneville

Oct 9-11

TN Vegetation Management Association Annual Mtg., Franklin

Oct 15-17

Tennessee Forestry Association Annual Cenvention, Oak Ridge

Oct 18

Fall Folklore Jamboree

Oct 18-19

Music and Molasses Arts and Crafts Festival, Nashville

Oct 23

Organic Crops Field Tour, Knoxville




From Commissioner Julius Johnson:

Recently, USDA released their latest National Farmers Market Directory reflecting continued demand and growth of farmers markets in every region of the country – a 76 percent increase since 2008. The new data revealed what we've suspected for a while now, that Tennessee is helping to lead the way with the largest gain of any state in the nation.

We think it's in part because of the success of our Pick Tennessee Products program in helping consumers better connect with farmers. It's also due in large measure to our partnership with universities, health professionals, Extension, the Farm Bureau and the market operators and vendors themselves, who are working hard to improve services and raise standards.

We want to take advantage of this success and to continue the momentum, as there is so much more potential for farmers markets in this state. This means more opportunity for farmers, healthier and better choices for consumers, and more economic activity in our rural areas.

If you haven't already downloaded our Pick Tennessee mobile app, please do so now and help support our farmers and farmers markets. You'll also be doing yourself a favor by having the best and freshest local farm products available at your fingertips.

Pick Tennessee Mobile App Benefits the User and the Farmer

The new Pick Tennessee Products mobile app is making a splash across Tennessee, showing up on television stations, on billboards, in grocery stores and magazines--and on the screens of smart phones, iPads and laptops of more than 16,000 users so far.

The free "Pick Tennessee" app can find and then map the way to locally grown farm products, farms and farmers markets. The app is downloadable from both the App Store for Apple products and from Google Play for Android devices, and farmers market managers across the state say that the promotion and app are already making a difference in traffic and sales for the farmers who sell at their markets.

Tasha Kennard, executive director of the Nashville Farmers market, says, "The Pick TN app not only helps raise awareness of what's in season here in Tennessee, it also helps the user find out where to purchase the harvest at local farmers markets and retail outlets. The campaign and app have increased customers and their knowledge about what's available at the market, and we have received a lot of positive feedback."

"The main mission of the Franklin Farmers Market is to help Tennessee farms stay green, growing and profitable," says Lisa Tidwell, with the Franklin Farmers Market. "The Pick Tennessee Products campaign gives a great boost to our promotion of Tennessee farms. Our customers want to know more about the farms who sell at the Franklin Farmers Market and the Pick Tennessee phone app and marketing materials give us a very effective way to do that. We like the campaign message so much that we had large signs with the Pick Tennessee logo printed to display in our big sign frames at the market!"

Allison Cook, manager of the Memphis Farmers market, agrees. "The Pick Tennessee Products campaign has boosted interest at Memphis Farmers Market by educating the public and media on what is available in Tennessee and where to buy it. There's lots of talk about buying local, but when the public is educated and shown the wonderful items that are available in Tennessee, it really motivates them to come to the market and shop.

"The Pick TN app is a great extension of this education, and it's in a user-friendly form that people easily have on hand. I love the tips that are in the app, and the large database of farms and farmers markets really shows that farm fresh foods are readily available in Tennessee."

The Pick Tennessee mobile app also keeps track of favorites and provides links to seasonal recipes, handy tips and fun facts, as well as the full Pick Tennessee Products website. Farm direct and local items on the app include options as varied as local fruits and vegetables, wineries, greenhouses and plant nurseries, Christmas tree farms, and local honey.

Pick Tennessee Products is the longstanding state campaign to connect customers to locally grown or made products and farm-related activities. The Pick Tennessee Products site,, also posts directories of the state's county fairs, equine trails and services, local meats and dairies, and agritourism farms and activities of all kinds. The website is a completely free service featuring close to 2,000 participating farms, processors and other ag and farm businesses, listing about 10,000 individual items. It attracted more than 300,000 visits last year.

Tennessee Readies for Federal Livestock Traceability Rule

TDA is stepping up efforts to educate livestock farmers about USDA's final Animal Disease Traceability (ADT) rule that requires the identification of livestock being transported across state lines.

The rule, which went into effect last year, provides an effective manner of tracing the movement of livestock for animal disease protection and response says state veterinarian Charles Hatcher, DVM.

"The federal rule only applies to livestock being moved interstate, but it's important that Tennessee farmers work with their local veterinarian to obtain proper documentation," Hatcher said. "We want to ensure that Tennessee farmers continue to have access to markets and that we can move quickly to limit the spread of a disease in the event of an outbreak."

The ADT rule requires livestock moved interstate, unless specifically exempted, to be officially identified and accompanied by an interstate certificate of veterinary inspection or other documentation, such as owner-shipper statements or brand certificates. The rule applies to all livestock including cattle, equine, sheep and goats, swine and poultry.

Brands, tattoos and brand registration can also be used as official identification when accepted by the shipping and receiving states. Backtags are accepted as an alternative to official eartags for cattle moved directly to slaughter.

In order to conform to the rule, TDA will conduct routine compliance checks of livestock being transported beginning in 2015 following a period of outreach to farmers and stakeholders. "As we work with other states and USDA to strengthen our traceability efforts, we want Tennessee livestock producers to be prepared for this important change," Hatcher said.

Animal health documentation is still required by the state under certain circumstances for livestock being moved within Tennessee. Additionally, some states have documentation requirements that go beyond the federal rule so producers should make sure that livestock moving interstate also comply with the receiving state's requirements.

TDA is working to implement a user-friendly online system already adopted by 20 other states that will allow private veterinarians to submit and access documents electronically in order to help with compliance. Veterinarians interested in participating should contact the State Veterinarian's office at 615-837-5120 or

For more information about the ADT rule and traceability requirements visit USDA's website at For more information about Tennessee's animal health programs and requirements, visit and look for the Animal Health Information link.

Seven Additional Tennessee Counties Quarantined for Emerald Ash Borer

A quarantine for EAB, an invasive insect that destroys ash trees, has been expanded to seven additional counties in Middle and East Tennessee. Clay, Fentress, Macon, Morgan, Overton, Pickett, and Rhea 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 34.

EAB has been confirmed in Fentress, Morgan, and Rhea counties. There has not been a positive detection of EAB in Clay, Macon, Overton, and Pickett counties, but due to the fact that small EAB populations can sometimes go undetected, TDA is also taking the precautionary measure of quarantining those counties as well.

"Because of the presence of EAB in nearby counties, there is a high likelihood that it is present in these counties as well, but so far has 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 areas."

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. Since its introduction, EAB has spread to 24 states and parts of Canada. This pest was first detected in Tennessee in 2010 in Knox County. Since that time, it has spread to 25 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:

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.

Other EAB information:

EAB attacks only ash trees. It is believed to have been introduced into the Detroit, Michigan area in the early 1990's on wood packing material from Asia. Since then, the destructive insect has killed millions of ash trees across several states including Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Typically, the Emerald Ash Borer beetles can kill an ash tree within three years of the initial infestation. Adults are dark green, one-half inch in length and one-eighth inch wide, and fly only from April until September, depending on the climate of the area. In Tennessee, most EAB adults would fly in May and June. Larvae spend the rest of the year beneath the bark of ash trees. When they emerge as adults, they leave D-shaped holes in the bark about one-eighth inch wide.

TDA's Division of Forestry estimates that five million urban ash trees in Tennessee are potentially at risk from EAB. The risk represents an estimated value loss of $2 billion. There are an estimated 261 million ash trees on Tennessee public and private timberland potentially valued as high as $9 billion.

For more information about other TDA programs and services visit

Music and Molasses Festival Returns in October

The Tennessee Agricultural Museum will celebrate the best of traditional arts and crafts, music, food and dance at the 22nd Annual Music and Molasses Festival Oct. 18-19 at Ellington Agricultural Center in Nashville.

Visitors to the festival can enjoy demonstrations in making pottery, soap, brooms and more. They can learn about weaving, spinning and carving. Samples of sorghum molasses and apple butter made on site will be available for tasting. Visitors can also purchase an assortment of soaps, yarn, jams, fresh produce, honey candies and baked goods.

The Farmer for a Day children's area will include an array of farm animals and play activities.

The festival will also celebrate the 100th anniversary of Tennessee's Division of Forestry. Smokey Bear will be at the festival helping with many special forestry exhibits and activities for kids of all ages.

Visit for more information including times and prices.

Forestry Celebrates Centennial: A History of How the Work Began

TDA's Division of Forestry will celebrate its 100-year anniversary next month. In honor of this milestone, we wanted to provide a little history on how the Division began.

Sept. 1, 1914 was a typical balmy summer day in Nashville with clear skies and a high of 92 degrees F, according to the National Climatic Data Center. But it was no typical day for Mr. R. S. Maddox. This was the day he would not only begin his new career as a state forester, but he would also be the first to serve in that position in Tennessee. The 39-year-old native of Lincoln County had received his education at Yale University, served as professor at the Pennsylvania State University and worked for the U.S. Forest Service prior to returning to work in his home state.

Tennessee was the second state in the South to have a division of forestry, being preceded only by North Carolina. According to an article in the Tennessean dated Feb. 20, 1914, "The new [forestry division of the geological] department expects to be able to stop the alarming washing of land occurring in many of the counties of East Tennessee, and will probably be one of the most popular and practical state departments." A similar account in the 1914 Administrative Report of the State Geologist stated Mr. Maddox would "devote a large part of his time toward aiding in the reclamation of the gullied lands of West Tennessee," and that " the response of the landowners to his efforts has been gratifying beyond expectation."

Restoring 'waste lands' and studying the forest conditions of the state would be the bulk of Mr. Maddox's work for the next several years. In 1921, he became the head of the newly created Bureau of Forestry with the official title of State Forester. This bureau was overseen by the State Forestry Commission, which consisted of the Governor as chairman, the president of the University of Tennessee, the chancellor of Vanderbilt University, the vice chancellor of the University of the South, the president of Lincoln Memorial University, and the State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

In 1922, a cooperation of the Bureau of Forestry with the United States Forest Service was begun to provide organized forest fire protection on five million acres of land. State Forester Maddox was in charge of a $25,000 fire protection budget, constituting a total expenditure of about one-half cent per acre. Nearly half of that budget was provided by federal funds through the Weeks Act of 1911. He had an additional $7,500 to continue restoration work.

In 1923, the Bureau of Forestry became the Division of Forestry and was placed under the direction of the Tennessee Department of Agriculture. Two years later Mr. Maddox established three districts--Cumberland, East Tennessee and Highland Rim--and hired a district forester for each to more efficiently administer the fire control work.

By 1927, State Forester Maddox had a team consisting of two assistant state foresters (one administering forest fire control and the other administering reforestation work), four district foresters, a nurseryman and four field assistants. He led this team for a few more years until, after serving 16 years in the position, he hung up his state forester hat having set a solid foundation for reforestation and forest fire protection in Tennessee.


"Head of New State Forest Department," Nashville Tennessean and the Nashville American, Feb. 20, 1914.

Purdue, A.H., Administrative Report of the State Geologist, 1914.

SAF, A Survey of State Forestry Administration in Tennessee, 1947.

Tennessee State Fair Returns with Plenty of Family Fun

Offering a taste, a bite, a sip and a boat load of fun for all ages, the Tennessee State Fair this year promises to be a premier entertainment event for the entire Volunteer State.

There will be a million dollar midway, chances to win a cuddly Teddy bear, ice cream treats, cotton candy, and all the other traditional amenities that make the State Fair a great family destination.

There will also be education exhibits about energy conservation; farm animals that you can get so close to that you can touch; a blue ribbon biggest pumpkin sure to weigh several hundred pounds; a spirited roller derby race; a crowd favorite stock car race; and an endless array of treats and things to see and do from funny looking rabbits to the reddest red candy apples this side of the Mississippi River. Oh, and by the way, you won't want to miss the traditional ice cream eating contest for kids.

The fair runs Sept. 5 – 14. Visit for more information.

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