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The Tennessee Department of Agriculture will again offer Ag Enhancement Grants, and the forms are ready – the local agricultural extension office has them in stock.
The program is similar to last year with an application period of June 1-7. Applications will not be accepted early, so mail them to be postmarked June 1 to ensure that you are in the first-come basis program. There is also an on-line application system for those with internet access.
Previous grant participants should have received a packet with their username and password and instructions for the on-line system. Online application is not required, but may be more convenient for some. Log on early if you plan to apply online to ensure that your information is correct. The system will fill in your premises ID number, etc., automatically if everything is correct.
Producers can receive 35% up to $1,200 for a herd bull, 35% up to $3,500 for livestock equipment, 35% up to $7,500 for a hay storage barn, 35 % up to $10,000 for Livestock Feed Storage, and 35% up to $15,000 for grain storage. Those who have attended the 10-session Master Beef program are eligible for these at a 50% cost-share level.
Applicants need to be Tennessee residents, have a current BQA certification and a premises ID number. Livestock and hay acreage minimums are also involved. The Producer Diversification program offers 35% up to $10,000 for certain items related to organics, grape growing, beekeeping, horticulture and agri-tourism.
Come by the agricultural extension office in the Ralph Hastings Building for a grant application, or get them on the web at http://www.tn.gov/taep/.
Producers applying for more than one item in the program will again rate these choices in a 1-3 priority so that if there is not enough funds to cover all they applied for they can receive their highest priority item. Changes include dropping the priority for full-time farmers and dropping the requirement for bids for hay storage, grain storage and feed storage applications. New items included are field sprayers and covered mineral feeders. Dairy only items added include manure-handling equipment.
Land ownership for building projects is extended this year to include immediate family members, children, parents, siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, etc.
Beef Quality Assurance Classes will be offered on Monday, April 29, in the auditorium of the Ralph Hastings Building Auditorium at 208 East Davidson in Fayetteville. Classes will be held at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. (you only need to attend one). This class is a requirement for TAEP grant applications. Check your card to see if your BQA certification is expired.