Agricultural and forestry businesses are on track to strengthen and expand operations thanks to an innovative new program.
The Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA) is announcing the first round of recipients for the Tennessee Forestry, Agriculture, and Rural Markets (FARM) cost share.
“We are proud that this new program attracted strong interest from the agribusiness community,” Agriculture Commissioner Charlie Hatcher, D.V.M. said. “We received 259 applications and funding requests exceeded $107 million. We thank Governor Lee and the Financial Stimulus Accountability Group for the allocation to support Tennessee’s farm and forest families.”
The FARM cost share is designed to stabilize and strengthen the agriculture and forestry supply chain. Businesses that receive financial assistance through FARM are not required to repay the funds. In this first period, more than $18 million was awarded to 20 agricultural, food, forestry, and nonprofit entities in Tennessee.
Each application was scored independently by three different TDA staff members and then reevaluated by a larger group of TDA staff with agribusiness expertise. Scores were based on weighted criteria including the economic designation of the county of origin, operational increase expected from the completed project, anticipated impact on Tennessee’s food and fiber supply chain, readiness and evidence of financial capacity to complete the project, and demonstration of collaboration with industry and community partners. An independent consulting firm assisted with the process by advising on the application, the scorecard, and data management.
The following businesses will receive funding in round one:
Appalachian Producers Cooperative, Washington County – Meat Processor
Back Country Harvesters, Bledsoe County – Forestry Manufacturer
Bill J. Surber, Hancock County – Grain Handling Operation
Clark Hardwoods, Houston County – Sawmill
Cote du Roanne, Bledsoe County – Specialty Crop Producer
David L. Richesin, Loudon County – Grain Handling Operation
Double J Holdings, Lawrence County – Meat Processor
Flowers Creamery, Giles County – Dairy Processor
Hale and Hines Nursery, Warren County – Horticultural Producer
Joseph Burks, Clay County – Logger
Lazy Dog Farms, McNairy County – Meat Processor
Madison Mill, Cheatham County – Forestry Manufacturer
S&S Firewood, Grundy County – Forestry Manufacturer
Schultz Brothers Farms, Dyer County – Grain Handling Operation
Shayne R. Bickford, Bledsoe County – Logger
Underground Slaughter, White County – Meat Processor
Union County Tennessee – Farmers Market
Volunteer Meats, Henderson County – Meat Processor
Wampler’s Farm Sausage Co., Loudon County – Meat Processor
Zephyr Development Group, Roane County – Meat Processor
An estimated $15 million will be awarded in the second round of FARM funding. That application period is Nov. 1-30, 2023. More details can be found online at www.tn.gov/FARM.
“We invite the businesses that did not receive funding this time to apply again,” Commissioner Hatcher added. “And if the FARM cost share isn’t the right fit for you, I encourage you to reach out to our Business Development Division to learn more about the Agricultural Enterprise Fund and other programs designed to boost agribusiness in Tennessee.”
Contact TDA’s Business Development Division at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.