In December 2012, Gov. Bill Haslam challenged the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture and the UT Institute of Agriculture to help develop a strategy for ensuring the growth and prosperity of agriculture and forestry over the next decade. He set a goal of making Tennessee the number one in the Southeast in the development of agriculture and forestry and emphasized opportunities to increase farm income and agribusiness investment. The governor asked for "practical, affordable, actionable steps that we can take to propel the industry into the future." The strategic plan was presented to the governor in December 2013.
A year after its presentation to the governor, the Executive Committee provides the following report on areas in which implementation has begun or significant progress has been made toward making the plan a reality. The plan will continue to be reviewed and adapted as needed to remain on target with goals and objectives.
Governor's Rural Challenge: 2014 Progress Report [PDF, 2 Mb]
The strategic planning process will involve opportunities for public input and will utilize a variety of sources and means for gathering information. For quantitative evaluation and analysis, support will be provided by the UT Agri-Industry Modeling and Analysis Group, the UT Center for Profitable Agriculture. The process will also utilize testimony from private sector experts representing industry, logistics and infrastructure, and additional support from institutional partners including academia and USDA. Qualitative insight will be sought from stakeholders and the public through a steering committee, focus groups, surveys and public meetings.
To facilitate strategic plan development, a steering committee of industry leaders is providing guidance in identifying key measures of success and making final recommendations. Steering committee members represent a broad range of agricultural and forestry interest including livestock, specialty and row crop production, financing, supply and service, cooperatives, wood products industry and agribusiness.
Take a public survey to help identify key issues and challenges affecting the growth and development of agriculture and forestry in Tennessee. The survey is completely anonymous and involves a series of 27 multiple choice questions covering topics ranging from land availability and access to markets to agribusiness incentives, labor and research. The survey will take approximately 10 minutes to complete. The results will be used to help the Steering Committee identify areas of focus. Take the survey now.