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  10:17 a.m. November 10, 2015
$75,000 grant expected to help Tennessee’s farming businesses grow

tennessee farming
From new farming businesses, to beef processing and grape and wine production, a new grant from USDA Rural Develo p.m.ent to the University of Tennessee Center for Profitable Agriculture (CPA) and the UT Institute of Agriculture Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics has the potential to help agricultural businesses and rural economies grow. Photo of Rob Holland, UT CPA Director (left), Susan Shuff, USDA RD Area Specialist (center) and Faye McEwen, USDA RD Area Director​ at the CPA headquarters in Spring Hill, Tenn. by P. McDaniels, courtesy UTIA.

SPRING HILL, TN — THE USDA is sponsoring a grant, along with other private and public partners, to help advance Tennessee’s economy by investing in rural develo p.m.ent. More than $75,000 will get the ball rolling to conduct new research in the state’s agricultural sectors with hopes of growing new farming businesses in the areas of beef processing and grape and wine production.

Awarded to the University of Tennessee Center for Profitable Agriculture (CPA) and the UT Institute of Agriculture Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, the grant outlines four specific objectives:

1. Growing the state’s grape and wine industry,
2. Increasing opportunities for livestock harvesting and processing,
3. Developing an educational pilot workshop for beginning farm operations, and
4. Developing an online market assessment tool that extracts census data for specific geographic locations for those in farming-related businesses.

Rob Holland, director of the CPA, said his center is anxious to begin the work. “Helping agricultural businesses is our mandate, and we are pleased to focus on these specific needs within Tennessee agriculture and our state’s rural communities,” he said. Holland expects the work will be divided into the four distinct efforts with preliminary results from the grape and wine study to be available as early as January 2016. David Hughes, Professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Greever Chair in Agribusiness Develo p.m.ent, projected that the remainder of the work will be ready for dissemination by 2017.

Partnering with Tennessee Office of USDA Rural Develo p.m.ent in the funding opportunity are the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, Farm Credit Mid America and the Tennessee Farm Winegrowers Association.

“Working with partner agencies to grow small agribusinesses is vital to rural develo p.m.ent in Tennessee,” said Faye McEwen, USDA Rural Develo p.m.ent Area Director. “By leveraging limited resources through close collaboration with state and federal partners, and others, economic opportunity in our rural communities is improved,” she added.

The project was proposed as part of the UT Extension Agriculture and Natural Resource Community Economic Develo p.m.ent Strategic Business Plan and was designed to support the Governor’s Rural Challenge and 10-Year Strategic Plan for Tennessee Agriculture.

“This project has been well planned and focuses on areas of agriculture that could really benefit from this kind of research support as well as impact a large number of farmers and business entrepreneurs. The results and insights gained will be important for future planning and continued growth of Tennessee’s rural economy,” Tennessee Commissioner of Agriculture Julius Johnson said.

Published November 10, 2015

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