Administration and Grants Division
Administration and Grants provide budgetary, legal, human resources and communications support to achieve agency goals and objectives in an efficient and cost effective manner. Staff work with legislators and industry to ensure programs have adequate statutory authority, staffing and clerical support.
Agricultural Crime Unit
The ACU provides law enforcement support for the department's consumer, industry and forestry programs related to animal and plant health, food safety, pesticide use and wildland arson investigation. The Unit frequently assists local law enforcement agencies in the investigation and prosecution of crimes related to livestock theft and illegal drug manufacturing.
Boll Weevil Eradication Program
2013 marked the fifth consecutive year that no boll weevils were detected in Tennessee cotton fields. The boll weevil eradication program continues to represent a major accomplishment, resulting in up to a 30 percent increase in cotton yields and a 40 to 90 percent decrease in cotton insecticide use. Monitoring activities to detect any re-infestation by natural or artificial means are now fully funded by cotton growers with a $1 per acre per year assessment.
Tennessee Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation has pledged funding for a buffer zone in the extreme southern part of Texas to prevent the movement of weevils from Mexico back into eradicated areas, including Tennessee. This will require up to an additional $.75 per acre per year assessment. This will help protect the $140 million investment made by Tennessee cotton growers to eradicate boll weevils in Tennessee.
Tennessee Department of Agriculture administers USDA's food distribution program for the National School Lunch Program. This program supports American agriculture while providing nutritious food to schoolchildren. TDA also administers the Emergency Food Assistance Program, which supplements the diets of low-income people. In FY 2013, 32.8 million pounds of food valued at $40 million were ordered and allocated for schools, childcare institutions and non-profit charities.
Tennessee Agricultural Museum
The museum provides school children and adults with an appreciation for agriculture's important past and current contributions to the state's economy and culture. The museum hosts more than 20,000 visitors annually or tours and educational activities throughout the school year and Summer Saturdays make the museum available to everyone.
Land and Water Stewardship
The state Agricultural Resources Conservation Fund helps landowners install conservation practices to improve water quality. In FY 2013, approximately 650 practices were implemented through Soil Conservation Districts and universities.
The goal of the federally-funded 319 Nonpoint Source Program is to remove rivers and streams from the state's list of impaired waters. The program funds projects that address nonpoint-source pollution from urban areas, abandoned mine lands, farms and forests. In FY 2013, the program provided funding for nonpoint-source abatement practices through approximately 60 active grant projects.
TDA reviews nutrient management plans associated with the federal permitting program for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), administered by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. More than 450 farms have applied since the program's inception in 1999.