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Disease Outbreak Spurs State to Quarantine Walnut Trees in Jefferson Co.

Press release from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture; December 10, 2012:

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Agriculture today announced the discovery of a walnut tree killing disease, Thousand Cankers Disease (TCD), in Jefferson County. The county is now under quarantine. Hamblen County is now considered a buffer regulated county because it is adjacent to a quarantined county. Rhea County is also being placed in the buffer regulated category because Walnut Twig Beetles have been caught in the county but no TCD fungus has been found.

“We will continue to survey our forests and work to help slow the spread of the disease.” said TDA Plant Certification Administrator Gray Haun. “We are working with stakeholders to help educate citizens on the symptoms of TCD and how they can help.”

TCD is a progressive disease that may kill a tree within two to three years after initial symptoms are detected. The disease-causing fungus, Geosmithia morbida, is transmitted by the Walnut Twig Beetle, Pityophthorus juglandis. Branches and trunk tissue are killed by multiple infections of the fungus as the beetles carry the fungus from one area to the next.

TDA plant inspectors and foresters will continue to conduct a thorough survey of trees in these areas to assess the extent of the infestation and to see if more areas need to be quarantined. Counties already under quarantine for TCD include Anderson, Blount, Knox, Loudon, Sevier and Union. Adjacent counties to the quarantined areas are also restricted for movement of walnut products and hardwood firewood.

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry estimates that 1.38 million black walnut trees in Tennessee’s urban areas are potentially at risk from TCD. The risk represents an estimated value loss of $1.37 billion. There are an estimated 26 million black walnut trees on Tennessee public and private timberland potentially valued as high as $1.47 billion.

TDA officials urge area residents and visitors to help prevent the spread of TCD:

  • Don’t transport firewood, even within Tennessee. Don’t bring firewood along for camping trips. Buy the wood you need from a local source. Don’t bring wood home with you.
  • Don’t buy or move firewood from outside the state. If someone comes to your door selling firewood, ask them about the source, and don’t buy wood from outside the state.
  • Watch for signs of infestation in your black walnut trees. If you suspect your black walnut tree could be infested with TCD, visit www.TN.gov/agriculture/tcd for an online symptoms checklist and report form or call TDA’s Regulatory Services Division at 1-800-628-2631.

More information about Thousand Cankers Disease and forest health threats in Tennessee can be found at www.ProtectTNForests.org. For more information about other programs and services of the Tennessee Department of Agriculture visit www.tn.gov/agriculture .

Ag Dept. Hosting Rural Economic Development ‘Listening Sessions’

Press release from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture; April 5, 2012:

Focus on Farm and Forest Issues, Rural Development Opportunities –

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Agriculture is hosting a series of listening sessions across the state in April and May for farmers, forest landowners and agribusinesses. The purpose of the meetings is to hear stakeholder concerns about current issues and to explore opportunities for developing our rural economy and increasing farm and forest income.

“We want to be available to our producers, landowners and agribusinesses to hear their concerns and to get their input on how to enhance our rural communities and economy,” Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson said. “This is also about ongoing efforts to look at how we, as an agency, can provide better service and be more responsive to challenges and opportunities.

“Agriculture and forestry are growing businesses in Tennessee. We must find the best ways to maintain and expand infrastructure while encouraging long-term profitability.”

A total of five listening sessions are scheduled with two being devoted specifically to discussing forestry issues as follows:

Agriculture Listening Sessions

April 19 at 10 a.m. EDT – Bradley Co., Tri-State Exhibition Center, I-75 Exit 20

April 26 at 7 p.m. CDT – Weakley Co., Moore Farms, 2887 Paris Hwy. 54, Dresden

May 1 at 7 p.m. CDT – Coffee Co., Farm Bureau Insurance, 225 E. Main St., Manchester

Forestry Listening Sessions

May 3 at 7 p.m. CDT – Lawrence Co., Columbia State Community College Conference Room, 1620 Springer Rd., Lawrenceburg

May 15 at 7 p.m. CDT – Cumberland Co., Cumberland Co. Fairgrounds Multi-Purpose Room, 1398 Livingston Rd., Crossville

The agenda for the sessions include remarks by Commissioner Johnson and an overview of the Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program and the recently formed Agriculture and Forestry Economic Development Task Force. There will also be time for open discussion by participants.

More listening sessions will be planned for the fall to include a focus on other industry sectors. For more information about the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, visit www.tn.gov/agriculture.

State Forest Health Assessment & Resource Strategy Meeting Friday

Press Release from the State of Tennessee:

Tennessee Forestry Commission to Meet Nov. 19

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Forestry Commission will meet Nov. 19 at 12:30 p.m. CST in the Bruer Building conference room at Ellington Agricultural Center, located at 440 Hogan Road in Nashville.

The commission will review and approve minutes of the Aug. 19 commission meeting and will hear a presentation on the recently completed Tennessee Forest Resource Assessment and Strategy. The assessment provides an analysis of forest conditions, trends and threats in Tennessee and identifies strategies for addressing long term needs. The assessment was required for forestry agencies across the nation by the federal 2008 Farm Bill.

The meeting is open to the public. Individuals interested in addressing the commission should plan to arrive prior to the start of the meeting in order to be placed on the agenda.

The Tennessee Forestry Commission comprises seven members representing the public’s interests as it relates to forest resources in the state. The commission advises the Tennessee Department of Agriculture on forest resource issues and the Division of Forestry. For more information, contact the TDA Division of Forestry at 615-837-5520.

TN Forestry Commission to Meet Jan. 12; Off-road vehicle-use on private property up for discussion

State of Tennessee Press Release:

The Tennessee Forestry Commission will meet Jan. 12, 2010 at 9 a.m. EST at the Tennessee Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry’s East Tennessee Nursery, located at 9063 Hwy. 411 S. in Delano, Tenn.

The commission will hear reports on off-road vehicle use on private forestlands, timber trespass, property access for hunting, tree planting practices on state property, State Forest assessment and strategy plans, the Division of Forestry budget and legislative issues. Following the meeting, commission members will tour the East Tennessee Nursery, which produces genetically superior hardwood and softwood tree seedlings for reforestation projects on public and private lands in Tennessee.

The meeting is open to the public. Individuals interested in addressing the commission should plan to arrive prior to the start of the meeting in order to be placed on the agenda.

The Tennessee Forestry Commission comprises seven members representing the public’s interests as it relates to forest resources in the state. The commission advises the Tennessee Department of Agriculture on forest resource issues and the Division of Forestry. For more information, contact the TDA Division of Forestry at 615-837-5520.