In This Issue
1st Annual Urban Runoff 5K, Nashville
Oct. 30 - Nov. 3
National FFA Convention, Louisville
Autumn has come to Tennessee, and our forests will soon be putting on a spectacular show of color. If you are looking for a place to enjoy these cooler days in a natural setting, our state parks and forests are open and ready for visitors.
After this display of natural beauty, many landowners will begin cleaning up their property. Burning leaves and brush can be an efficient way to get rid of debris; however, it needs to be done safely. Last year, the Division of Forestry issued nearly 400,000 permits with the goal of making landowners aware of weather conditions and safe practices, and to inform officials where permitted burns are taking place. The free permit is only a phone call or online click away and is required beginning October 15. Visit burnsafetn.org for more details.
Protection of our natural resources goes beyond wildfire. Insects and diseases can cause damage too. Although monitoring and control measures have proven effective, we need your help to control and slow the spread of infestations. Do our forests a favor and get your firewood from a local source and please visit our new forest health website - protecttnforests.org - to learn more about invasive pests and ways you can help slow their spread.
We have much to be thankful for in Tennessee with regards to our forests, but it is up to all of us to conserve, protect and enhance them. We hope to see you at a state forest this season.
Fall may be the best time to harvest most crops, but it's also the perfect time to be thinking about planting trees for next year. Tree planting season in Tennessee typically takes place from January to March, but the time to order seedlings is now.
The Division of Forestry's East Tennessee Nursery in Delano grows between six and seven million seedlings each year, including five species of pines and at least 40 different species of hardwood trees and shrubs. Seedlings are available to private and public landowners to help meet their forest management and conservation objectives.
"Whether a landowner’s focus is timber product ion, wildlife habitat or water quality, we produce the quality and quantity of tree seedlings to meet the need," Nursery Manager John Conn said. "We strive to meet the broadest scope of landowner tree planting needs possible. Our goal is to promote forest conservation through tree planting."
This ability to provide seedlings to meet the needs of landowners comes from decades of growing seedlings, establishing seed orchards, cultivating partnerships, improving infrastructure, and research. These efforts have benefited individual landowners through increased timber sales revenue and improved hunting grounds. Society, as a whole, has benefited as well through clean water and scenic landscapes.
For more on the Division of Forestry's East Tennessee Nursery and to order seedlings, steer your web browser to www.planttntrees.org or call the nursery manager, John Conn, at 1-877-TN TREES (868-7337).
We are beginning to enjoy the cooler weather and vibrant colors of fall, but don't let this fool you into thinking that mosquito season is over just yet. In fact, mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus can still be a big problem for horse owners.
"This fall we have seen a large number of horses across the country diagnosed with West Nile virus," State Veterinarian Dr. Charles Hatcher, DVM said. "Tennessee has had one confirmed case, and we urge owners to ask their veterinarian about vaccinating their horses to protect them from what can potentially be a deadly virus for these animals."
Clinical signs for WNV include flulike symptoms, where the horse seems mildly anorexic and depressed; muscle and skin twitching; hypersensitivity to touch and sound; mental changes when horses look like they are daydreaming or "just not with it"; occasional drowsiness; propulsive walking, driving or pushing forward, often without control; and "spinal" signs, including asymmetrical weakness.
"Although we are seeing cooler temperatures, last year we saw human cases of West Nile virus in Tennessee as late as December"” said Abelardo Moncayo, PhD, State Medical Entomologist. "Since mosquito activity is temperature-dependent, we can expect mosquitoes to be active during warm days and we may continue to see sporadic cases during the fall."
Along with vaccinations, mosquito control is very important for disease prevention. Insect repellants can be used on horses but with limited value. Screened stalls can also help reduce exposure to animals.
There are lots of simple things people can do to help control mosquito populations and reduce the risk of mosquito bites for themselves and their animals:
For more information about WNV or other viral diseases in horses, contact the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, State Veterinarian office and diagnostic laboratory at (615) 837-5120.
Thirteen Tennessee projects were selected for nearly $475,000 in funding through USDA's 2013 Specialty Crop Block Grant (SCBG) Program. The funding is part of a $52 million investment by USDA that includes 54 block grants to U.S. states and territories for 694 initiatives nationwide.
Funding for the projects is administered in-state by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture Market Development Division. Tennessee's projects were selected on the basis that they enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops. These projects will also help increase farm profitability and strengthen local economies.
Tennessee's approved projects cover areas including education, marketing, production and promotion of on-farm food safety. In addition, TDA will administer a $65,000 project that will offer cost-share assistance for specialty crop growers who obtain a Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) audit. Details will be available in the first quarter of 2014.
Nationally, the SCBG Program for fiscal year 2013 supports initiatives that range from increasing nutritional knowledge and improving distribution systems to promoting good handling and manufacturing practices, developing improved crop varieties and increasing food access to underserved communities.
All 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, American Samoa, and Guam received grants this year.
TDA is happy to welcome two new employees to the Market Development Division. Amy Delvin Tavalin has been named marketing specialist for Farmers Markets and Horticulture and Art Colebank is the division's digital media specialist.
"I am honored to be working in the Department of Agriculture and am looking forward to helping farmers market managers increase their sales and better their markets," Tavalin said. "The horticulture and nursery industry is prominent in Tennessee and I am thrilled to be working with the producers in that industry along with the farmers markets."
Amy has been a part of her family business, Delvin Farms, since 2009 where she was in charge of marketing, agritourism, farmers markets and restaurant sales. She also managed two farmers markets in the Nashville area, the East Nashville Farmers Market and the West End farmers market.
Art Colebank will assist the division’s marketing missions through Web and other social media development, creative design, and other technical avenues of promotion.
Art is no stranger to TDA. He has worked with many of us as a Graphic Designer, Web Developer and Digital Imaging Manager over the past 19 years while working in Tennessee's Printing and Media Services Division. In this role, he was responsible for many of the logos, publications and design in state government, including our own department logo, the Pick Tennessee Products logo and numerous other well known designs for agriculture organizations and programs.
"I have always had a high regard for the work that the department does to serve Tennessee's farmers," Colebank said. "It has always been a rewarding part of my day to work on projects with them, and I now look forward to being more closely involved in the department’s missions."
In some ways, Art is coming full circle in his career, which began at Scales Brothers Dairy in Nolensville where he worked through high school and college. He also started his graphics career while working his way through MSTU, working at The Very Idea for four years. While there, he designed tee shirts and signs for the city of Murfreesboro, the Tennessee Farmers' Co-op and many others. His tee shirts have appeared all over Tennessee.
The holiday season will be upon us before we blink and thanks to Tennessee's cool, wet summer, the Christmas tree crop looks good this year.
If you are considering a real tree, here are some things to consider. Natural Christmas trees are completely renewable, 100 percent biodegradable and recyclable. They contain no petroleum products, leaving a negligible carbon footprint. While growing, natural Christmas trees absorb carbon dioxide and emit fresh oxygen. Christmas trees often grow on soil that doesn't support other crops; their root systems stabilize soil, protect area water quality and provide wildlife habitats. One to three new seedlings are planted for every tree harvested to ensure a constant supply on tree farms.
Artificial trees are made from plastic made with petroleum products. Lead—an ingredient in PVC (polyvinyl chloride) plastic, and other metals, are also important parts of an artificial tree. These trees don’t biodegrade, and travel a long way to get to U.S. stores, leaving a huge carbon footprint. About 85 percent of artificial trees start in China, but eventually end up sitting in U.S. landfills for centuries.
Natural trees can be brought to area parks after the holidays to be turned into mulch for local trails. Some people also like to place their old trees in ponds or favorite fishing spots to serve as fish habitats.
Balled and burlapped live trees are replanted once the holidays are over. Buying a live tree from a farm close to its new home is a guarantee that the variety can grow well in that area, and tree farmers will explain how to plant and care for transplanted trees.
Find Tennessee Christmas trees at www.picktnproducts.org.
TDA veterinarians Dr. Scott Reed and Dr. Robyn Haines are now recognized as a "Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists." Both received this honor last month after passing their Board Certification Exams.
"We are truly honored to have two board certified pathologists on staff here at the Tennessee Department of Agriculture," Assistant Commissioner for Consumer and Industry Services Jimmy Hopper said. "In the history of the Kord Animal Diagnostic Laboratory, only one other has passed his Boards and been recognized as a Diplomate - that being the late Dr. Ron Wilson."
Dr. Reed is the director of TDA's Kord Diagnostic Laboratory and Dr. Haines is one of the lab's diagnosticians. The Kord Diagnostic Lab in Nashville provides services for livestock owners and private veterinarians. For more information on the Kord Diagnostic Lab call 615-837-5125.
Friends and former staff members of former TDA Commissioner and 8th District U.S. Rep. Ed Jones gathered earlier this month, at the University of Tennessee at Martin to pay tribute to the late congressman and honor his induction into the Tennessee Agricultural Hall of Fame. Jones became only the 13th hall of fame member when he was elected in 2011.
A reception was held in the Paul Meek Library where a replica of the congressman's office is maintained and his congressional papers are held. A dinner followed in the Boling University Center where a large bronze plaque was displayed that will later reside in the Tennessee Agricultural Hall of Fame collection. The collection is maintained TDA at the Tennessee Agricultural Museum.
TDA Commissioner Julius Johnson, who knew Jones during his career with the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation, commended those in attendance "for helping to bring attention to one of Tennessee’s agriculture true treasures, Congressman Ed Jones"
"I think it’s appropriate that the university is building upon his legacy in agriculture through the Ed Jones Distinguished Lecture Series and scholarship fund," Johnson said. "I know Congressman Jones would certainly be proud."
Jones, a Yorkville native, earned a two-year degree in 1932 from UT Junior College, predecessor to UT Martin, and a bachelor's degree in 1934 from UT Knoxville. During his career, he served as a state dairy inspector, an agricultural agent for the Illinois Central Railroad, a farm radio host and was appointed Tennessee Commissioner of Agriculture under Gov. Gordon Browning. He is probably best known for his service from 1969-89 as U.S. Representative, and he remained active in his family’s farm throughout his career.
While in Congress, Jones was a senior member of the House Committee on Agriculture during a time of change in the agriculture industry and the institutions that supported it. Notable events that occurred during his career were the Farm Strike and Tractorcade to Washington, D.C., in the late 1970s, the financial struggles of the Farm Credit System, the regulation of the futures market, and the transition of the soil and water conservation programs.
"He certainly left his mark on our nation's agriculture and is responsible for championing many of the programs in conservation, farm finance and risk management programs that we now take for granted. Through it all, Mr. Jones never lost sight of his life's mission to improve the livelihood of farmers and the lives of rural Americans."
The original Ed Jones Distinguished Lecturer Series began in 1989 at the university, and Jones actively supported the series until it ended in 1995. A lead gift of $12,500 in June from Farm Credit Mid-America was the first step toward endowing the lecture series, which will now include the congressman's late wife's name and be called the Ed and Llew Jones Distinguished Lecture Series.
Donations can be made to the Ed Jones Gift Fund, which supports the university's Ed and Llew Jones Distinguished Lecture Series. Contact the UT Martin Office of Development, 329 Hall-Moody Administration Building, Martin, TN 38238, or call 731-881-7620. Gifts to the lecture series fund can also be made online at www.utmforever.com/jones.
The Agricultural Museum plans to make the Jones plaque a permanent addition to its Tennessee Agricultural Hall of Fame exhibit at Ellington Agricultural Center in early 2014.
The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, TDA's Division of Forestry’s Urban Riparian Buffer Program, Nashville’s Metro Water Services and the Tennessee Stormwater Association are teaming up to host the inaugural Nashville Urban Runoff 5K and Water Festival on Saturday, October 26.
"We're proud to be a sponsor of this event to help draw attention to water issues and the role that forests, including trees in our urban environment, can play in controlling stormwater and improving water quality," TDA assistant commissioner and state forester Jere Jeter said.
The 3.1-mile run/walk will begin at Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park at 8 a.m. and weave its way past several innovative green stormwater management practices in the downtown area. In addition to viewing examples of green stormwater practices, the race will also parallel and highlight a section of the Cumberland River, Nashville’s most precious water resource for which innovative stormwater design concepts will be key in preserving for future generations. To register online for the 5K, visit http://bit.ly/19ANmuq by October 25. If you would like to volunteer to help with the event, visit http://bit.ly/GR5V4X.
|Ellington Agricultural Center | 440 Hogan Road |
Nashville, TN 37220