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Business Development

During the COVID-19 outbreak, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture provides the following links and information as resources for agricultural and forestry businesses.

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture established the Coronavirus Agricultural and Forestry Business Fund (CAFB) to help ensure stability of the food supply chain and agribusiness economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. Financial assistance received from the CAFB Fund is not a loan and  does not need to be repaid.

Learn more here.

Are you a farmer whose operation has been directly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic? USDA's Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) will provide direct relief to producers who faced price declines and additional marketing costs due to COVID-19.

General information about CFAP direct payments
Final rule - includes the list of commodities for which USDA already has data
Notice of funding availability - outlines the application process for commodities not listed in the rule
         Note:  This is the document most relevant for nursery operations and inland aquaculture.
Fact Sheet for Livestock Producers

Agricultural producers are eligible to participate in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and should reach out to their bankers and/or agricultural lenders to apply. For questions related to PPP, contact the Lender Relations Specialist in your local SBA Field Office.

The Tennessee Small Business Development Center can help walk you through the application process. Learn more here and find a local office.

Interim Final Rule for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
Overview of the PPP
Information for Prospective Borrowers
Application for Borrowers

Agricultural enterprises are eligible for the Small Business Association's Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. Unlike PPP, applications for the EIDL program are made directly to SBA. 

Any small business with fewer than 500 employees is eligible to apply, including sole proprietorships, self-employed individuals, and private contractors.

The program will issue grants of up to $10,000 that do not need to repaid. Funds will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

Apply for EIDL

Resources for Business Owners

Agribusiness Resources

U.S. Small Business Administration -
Guidance & Loan Resources | Disaster Assistance
TN Small Business Development Center - Navigating Your Business Through COVID-19
Centers for Disease Control -
Guidance for Agriculture Workers and Employers
Guidance for Meat and Poultry Processors
Meat and Poultry Processing Facility Assessment Toolkit
Business Planning and Response
Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility
USDA - H-2A Visa Program and COVID-19
U.S. Department of Labor - Coronavirus Resources
Occupational Safety and Health Administration - Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19
American Farmland Trust -
Farmer Relief Fund Grant Application
Forest Resources Association -
Forest Products Industry Impact
Extension Service - Decision Making Resources for Producers & Agribusinesses
TN Chamber of Commerce - COVID-19 News and Business Resources
TN Dept. of Economic and Community Development - COVID-19 Resources

Cultivating Business

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture's Business Development Division provides information and services for prospective or expanding agribusinesses. TDA also connects business operators to opportunities and resources through partnerships with other state and local agencies and numerous organizations, including the University of Tennessee's Center for Profitable Agriculture and Forest Products Center.

Our Business Advantages

Tennessee is the "Center of the South" and borders eight other states. No matter where your clients are, they're not too far from Tennessee. With six interstates, major rivers, international airports and extensive railways, you can ship to anywhere in the world from Tennessee.

Tennessee is a pro-business state with a governor who understands and works with businesses. With a work ethic that goes back to pioneering roots and the training and education to do any job, Tennessee's workforce is second to none. Tennessee has a right-to-work law and offers a steady, dependable labor pool.

One of the most visited states in the nation is also one of the best to live in and run a business. Parks, recreation, schools, climate and opportunity make Tennessee an incredible place to live. We have no personal state income tax, the lowest utility costs in the nation, low rates for worker's compensation insurance, and no sales tax on industrial equipment.  

Diversity not only describes the culture in Tennessee but the sites available, with communities and topography ranging from the Mississippi Delta to the Great Smoky Mountains.  

According to USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, there are more than 67,000 working farms in Tennessee producing a wide variety of agricultural commodities and livestock. Tennessee consistently ranks as one of the top five hardwood lumber producing states in the U.S.

Related Links

For More Information

Keith Harrison, Assistant Commissioner for Business Development
Tennessee Department of Agriculture
615-837-5160 or