NASHVILLE—With an eye to enhancing the state’s agricultural industry and increasing farmers’ capacity to produce, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture is encouraging farmers to continue their education through University of Tennessee Extension.
“Learning is critical to improving and advancing Tennessee agriculture,” Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson said. “These educational opportunities help producers to maximize efficiency in their operations and assure that best practices will be used to the benefit of the entire industry.”
Producers who wish to qualify for 50 percent cost share funding through the Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program (TAEP) can fulfill educational requirements by participating in UT advanced continuing education opportunities.
A schedule detailing current certification renewal deadlines by program is available at www.tn.gov/taep under Master Certification Information in the TAEP News section.
For agricultural, natural resources and community economic development programs, visit UT Extension’s webpage https://extension.tennessee.edu/Pages/ANR-CED.aspx. Click on the link to Livestock and Forage Systems for more information about beef and dairy educational programs.
All dairy producers with Tennessee Milk Quality Initiative (TQMI) certificates must recertify by participating in the UT Master Dairy Producer Program. However, TAEP will still accept current TQMI certificates through May 1, 2015.
The new advanced master certificates will qualify a producer for 50 percent cost share for a period of three years following the date printed on the certificate. Producers must participate in continuing education programs on a three year rotation. The exception is dairy, which is an annual certification based on fewer class hours each year. Applications for 2015 TAEP cost share programs are expected to be available in April.
The Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program was established in 2005 by the Tennessee General Assembly and has been fully funded by Gov. Bill Haslam through a portion of the state’s cigarette sales tax. TDA administers the program to assist qualifying producers with cost share funds of up to 50 percent on farm improvement projects to increase efficiency and farm income. A UT study shows that for every TAEP dollar invested, nearly $4 is generated in additional economic activity in local communities.
For more information, visit www.tn.gov/taep or call the TAEP general information line at 1-800-342-8206.