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Largest Round of Agriculture Enterprise Fund Recipients Announced

Tuesday, October 01, 2019 | 08:52am

NASHVILLE – For the latest round of Agriculture Enterprise Fund (AEF) allocations, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture is awarding the most recipients in a single cycle, adding up to the largest total grant dollars in program history. Eleven more Tennessee businesses will now have the opportunity to grow and positively impact rural economies through AEF grants.

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, along with Tennessee Agriculture Commissioner Charlie Hatcher, D.V.M. and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe, announced the eighth round of recipients of funding through the program.

“The AEF program continues to effectively support the expansion of agribusinesses in rural Tennessee,” Governor Lee said. “We’re proud to support more businesses than ever before with this round, and our goal is to continue growing the impact of the Agriculture Enterprise Fund for years to come.”

The AEF is an incentive program that supports job creation and economic growth by facilitating agricultural development in Tennessee. It provides assistance to new and expanding Tennessee agriculture, forestry, and food businesses, particularly in rural counties.

“Of our eleven recipients, eight are forestry and wood-products businesses,” Commissioner Hatcher said. “A large part of rural Tennessee’s economy is impacted by forestry and wood products, and promoting the expansion of these businesses will tie directly into our focus of supporting distressed and at-risk counties.”

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 Tennessee’s major goals is making sure our rural communities are able to succeed in our state,” Commissioner Rolfe said. “Because of programs like the Agriculture Enterprise Fund, that goal is within reach. We are honored to partner with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture on this great program, and I am looking forward to seeing these 11 communities succeed with the assistance of the Agriculture Enterprise Fund.”

AEF grant recipients and projects announced include:

  • Batey Farms, Rutherford County – adding a seed cleaning facility
  • Blaze It Firewood, Benton County –expanding with a new product line
  • Flowers Creamery, Giles County ­– dairy farm adding a creamery
  • Giles Logging, Anderson County –adding new equipment
  • Howell and Sons, Hardeman County – lumber company adding a sawmill
  • Knockout Firewood, Sevier County – new kiln-dried firewood producer
  • Morristown Stave, Hamblen County – new stave mill
  • Northeast Forest Products, Hamblen County – new timber company
  • Tennessee Tree Cutters, Grundy County –adding new equipment
  • Thompson Appalachian Hardwoods, Franklin County – adding a logging crew
  • Vegan Valley/Nutritional Food Designs, Greene County – expanding storage capacity

“We are very grateful and excited to be chosen as a 2019 recipient of the Agriculture Enterprise Fund grant,” Kyle Orr of Knockout Firewood said. “Our company strives to work together with TDA by exceeding federal and state requirements for heat-treated firewood. This joint effort ensures the beauty and health of our parks for many generations to come. Thank you for this opportunity.”

You will find more information about the Tennessee Agriculture Enterprise Fund at www.tn.gov/agriculture or by emailing Kyle Hensley at kyle.hensley@tn.gov.