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AEF program continues supporting Tennessee agriculture

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Governor Bill Lee and Department of Agriculture Commissioner Charlie Hatcher, D.V.M. have announced 12 businesses supported by the Agriculture Enterprise Fund.

“The recipients of this ninth round of funding are investing more than $8 million in their Tennessee agriculture and forest-product businesses,” Governor Lee said. “Farmers and forest landowners throughout the state will benefit from these projects, and we’re proud to support them through the Agriculture Enterprise Fund.”

  stony creek colors indigo farm
Stony Creek Colors indigo farm; image by TDA

Successful grant recipients must demonstrate a strong potential for impact on local farm income, access to markets, increased capacity, or agricultural innovation. Priority is given to businesses located in at-risk or distressed counties.

One of the recipients will be using the funds to increase its scale of sustainably produced plant-based dyes. “With our processing facility in Springfield, TN and the hard work of Tennessee farmers, our U.S. grown, traceable plant-based indigo is being used in major denim mills around the world for the first time in over 100 years,” Sarah Bellos of Stony Creek Colors said. “AEF will not only assist us with our expansion project, but it will provide farmers throughout the region with access to a growing market for natural colorants, which is actively expanding beyond denim into other textile applications, cosmetics, and eventually food colorants.”

AEF grant recipients and projects announced include:

• Amber Falls Winery, Maury County – adding new packaging equipment
• Beaty Lumber, Fentress County – adding a new loader to transport more logs
• Colonial Roots, Greene County – expanding hemp extraction and drying facility
• LB Processors, Cheatham County ­– expanding hemp extraction and drying facility
• Mountain Valley Vineyards, Sevier County – adding new bottling equipment
• Plateau Sawmill, Fentress County – adding a new chipper and debarker
• Rich Farms, Clay County – new organic laying hen operation
• Stony Creek Colors, Robertson County – adding seed preparation equipment
• The Wood Shed, McNairy County – new business producing custom-cut lumber
• Traditions Logging, Grainger County – adding a new bulldozer
• Tree Products, LLC, Scott County – expanding engineered wood flooring plant
• Unaka Forest Products, Washington County – adding a new wood pallet machine

In total, AEF has awarded more than $3.3 million in funding to Tennessee businesses, leveraging nearly $53 million in agriculture and forest-product economic development.

You will find more information about the Tennessee Agriculture Enterprise Fund at

Published January 21, 2020

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