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COVID-19 INFORMATION

Beginning Farmer Option

This program option allows beginning farmers* who do not meet minimum livestock/acreage requirements to participate in TAEP Application A. The purpose of this option is to help the beginning farmer applicant improve their operation with the goal of meeting minimum livestock/acreage requirements in the future.

Applicants who currently meet the minimum livestock/acreage requirements for any TAEP Application A program do not qualify for the Beginning Farmer Option. However, they may apply for the program for which they are eligible.

Beginning Farmer Requirements

*The beginning farmer applicant must meet basic TAEP eligibility requirements (outlined below – see p. 6 of TAEP Application A) unless otherwise specified within the Beginning Farmer Requirements.

  • US citizen/lawfully present
  • At least 18 years old during the application period
  • Resident of TN residing in TN and operating a farm in TN
  • Federal IRS Schedule F (2019 or 2020)
  • AGI less than or equal to $900K
  • Cattle producers must be BQA certified at time of application
  • Dairy producer must be permitted by TDA to be eligible as a dairy

1. First time TAEP applicant – 2021 will be the first year the applicant has applied for TAEP cost share funding. Only one person from the farm operation may apply for TAEP Application A cost share.

2. Farming less than five years – applicant must be actively farming** at time of application and must have started their farming operation after January 1, 2017. Only one person from the farm operation may apply for TAEP Application A cost share.

**Applicant must be actively farming an eligible sector (cattle, goats/sheep, hay, corn, cotton, soybeans, or wheat) related to cost share request. “Plan to” and “will be” is not eligible.

3. Federal IRS Schedule F (Form 1040) Filing – applicant must have filed a Federal IRS Schedule F (Form 1040), Profit or Loss from Farming, within the last two years (2019 or 2020), unless the applicant began their operation in 2021. Applicant may be asked to submit a copy of their Schedule F prior to TAEP approval to verify their farming operation.

4. Minimum Requirements Waiver – program minimum requirements will be waived for applicants qualifying for the TAEP Beginning Farmer Option. Applicant is required to report their highest single day inventory of head of livestock and total acres in production during the last 12 months on their application.

Applicant may apply for only one (1) TAEP Application A program.

Below is a list of eligible programs by operation type:

o Cattle producer – with less than 30 head, is eligible for: Dairy Solutions, Herd Health, Genetics, Hay Equipment, Livestock Equipment, Livestock Solutions, Permanent Working Structures

o Goats/Sheep producer – with less than 50 head, is eligible for: Dairy Solutions, Genetics, Hay Equipment, Livestock Equipment, Livestock Solutions, Permanent Working Structures

o Hay producer – with less than 100 acres of hay in production (first cutting only), is eligible for: Hay Equipment

o Row Crop producer – with less than 100 acres of row crop (corn, cotton, soybeans, wheat) in production, is eligible for: Row Crop Solutions

5. Master Certification Required – applicant must complete UT Farming Fundamentals or TSU New Farmer Academy prior to program reimbursement deadline.

o Applicant who completes the education requirement will be reimbursed at 50% up to the program maximum. Standard 35% cost share is not available for the Beginning Farmer Option. If you are unable to complete the UT Farming Fundamentals course or attend the TSU New Farmer Academy, your project will not be funded.

o Proof of UT Farming Fundamentals or TSU New Farmer Academy certification is required at time of reimbursement (not at time of application). Certificates issued 2018 or after will be accepted.

Do you qualify for the TAEP Beginning Farmer Option?

The following information will assist you in determining whether you are eligible for the new Beginning Farmer Option.

This will be the first year I have applied for TAEP cost share. True or False?

If true, continue to the next question

If false, you do not qualify for the TAEP Beginning Farmer Option

I started my farming operation after January 1, 2017. True or False?

If true, continue to the next question

If false, you do not qualify for the TAEP Beginning Farmer Option

I do not currently meet the TAEP minimum head of livestock/acreage requirements for any TAEP Application A program. True or False? Minimum requirements are featured at the top of each program page.

If true, you may be eligible for the TAEP Beginning Farmer Option, providing you meet basic TAEP eligibility requirements (p. 6 of TAEP Application A)

If false, you do not qualify for the TAEP Beginning Farmer Option

What programs can a TAEP Beginning Farmer apply for?

You will select a program in Application A based upon your operation type (cattle, dairy, goats/sheep, hay, corn, cotton, soybeans, or wheat).

Do I need any certifications before applying for cost share?

Cattle producers must have a current (not expired) Beef Quality Assurance Certification (BQA) at time of application. Certification must be in the name of the applicant. See p. 6 for additional information.

If I’m approved as a TAEP Beginning Farmer, what will be expected of me?

You are required to complete the UT Farming Fundamentals or TSU New Farmer Academy certification by the program reimbursement deadline. Completion of this course is required by the time of reimbursement for 50% cost share. There will not be a 35% cost share option. If you are unable to complete the UT Farming Fundamentals or TSU New Farmer Academy, your project will not be funded.

If I’m approved as a TAEP Beginning Farmer this year, will I be eligible to participate in the Beginning Farmer Option in future years?

Applicants who are approved for the 2021-2022 Beginning Farmer Option may have the opportunity to apply for the 2022-2023 Beginning Farmer Option if they successfully complete educational requirements and submit a reimbursement request.