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NewsTracker

Corn Prices Weigh on TN Livestock Farmers

While grain producers in Tennessee are having a bumper year, those same market forces are making feed more expensive for cattle and poultry farmers, the state’s top Agriculture official said.

“Various droughts around the world have reduced our inventories to the point that prices are extremely good for the grain farmers. We went through somewhat of a drought this year, but actually recovered with a decent crop in a lot of cases,” Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson said during a state budget hearing earlier this month.

“And then in a lot of cases, some farmers around Weakley County along the state line actually lost 100 percent of their corn crop, but came back with soybeans and so forth.”

Julius JohnsonJulius Johnson

Johnson continued: “If you’re feeding feed, this is where you get hit. And so the poultry industry in the state is being hit hard, livestock feeders and so forth, but a lot of the livestock prices have been strong to overcome some of that.”

Johnson is requesting $68.2 million in state funding for the Department of Agriculture for the next fiscal year, holding near steady with the amount the agency received this year and up about 5 percent from the $65 million state budget for fiscal year 2012.

The department’s purview includes food safety, agribusiness, conservation and wildfire prevention.

To view other state budget hearings, click here.

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Press Releases

Haslam OKs Larger Hay Loads on TN Highways

Press Release from the State of Tennessee, Oct. 13, 2011:

 

NASHVILLE – Gov. Bill Haslam recently signed an executive order allowing haulers of hay to carry larger loads in their trucks as long as they observe safety requirements. The order is in response to drought and extreme weathers conditions in Texas and across the Southeast, which has left some farmers without access to hay for livestock.

“It’s been a tough year for farmers across the Southeast, and we want to be responsive to their needs,” Haslam said. “This order will ensure that much needed hay can be shipped safely and without delay through Tennessee and along our major interstate corridors.”

Gov. Haslam’s executive order increases the gross vehicle weight to 95,000 pounds, not to exceed 20,000 pounds per axle load, for semi truck/trailers. The order also increases the height of trailer loads to 13 feet, 6 inches and the width to a maximum of 14 feet during daylight hours.

The increase in width allows haulers to transport standard six- to seven-foot round hay bales side by side, increasing the capacity being hauled per truck without a permit. The executive order is in effect for 60 days.

Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson said the governor’s decision is an important one for the agricultural community.

“The governor’s order will help farmers in our own state who may need hay, and it will ensure that market supply and demand is met,” Johnson said. “Tennessee farmers have seen their share of weather related problems this year, and I applaud the governor for recognizing that farming is a tough but important business in our state and across the region.”

Tennessee is a major producer of hay, ranking 5th in the nation. The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service forecast that Tennessee farmers will produce 1.9 million acres of hay this year, excluding alfalfa, for a total of 4.3 million tons. For more information on Tennessee’s expected crop harvest, visitwww.nass.usda.gov/tn.

 

 

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NewsTracker

Top Agency Bosses Offer Their Visions for Tennessee

In line with Gov. Bill Haslam’s social media-driven communications strategy, the state’s new top decision makers are featured in the administration’s most recent “Governor’s Update” YouTube video

The three-and-a-half-minute video features six of the state’s more than twenty state commissioners, with the top department leaders in Health, Financial Institutions, Children’s Services, Agriculture, Mental Health and Tourism each offering a vision for their agency.

Commissioner Greg Gonzales, who oversees the Department of Financial Institutions, says he wants to build an environment where businesses can be successful, as does Commissioner Julius Johnson of the Department of Agriculture, who said he wants to make the state’s rural and agricultural communities better places to live.

“I believe we can do this by creating incentives for new jobs to be developed in rural areas, to make sure that the agriculture community grows in like-kind with urban businesses and so forth, to develop jobs and to have the same opportunity that the urban areas have,” he said.

Susan Cooper, commissioner of the Department of Health, said she hopes Tennessee can be the healthiest state in the nation while Tourism Commissioner Susan Whitaker wants to make the Volunteer State one of the top five destinations in the country.

Commissioner Kathryn O’Day of Children’s Services stressed the need for the state to reach out to the local community to best address the needs of kids, and Mental Health Commissioner Doug Varney said the state needs to be sensitive and responsive to the people his department serves.

“Many of these people, by the time they get to this point or are looking to services, they’re desperate. They’re dealing with very difficult situations,” he said.

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Press Releases

Recap of Haslam Appointments Thus Far

Statement from Bill Haslam, Tennessee’s Governor-Elect, Dec. 10, 2010:

“The last couple of weeks have been incredibly busy, yet very exciting as we continue building our team and preparing to take office in the New Year. Since the election we’ve had a great response from citizens all across the state offering suggestions for better government and with interest in helping our administration.

“I’m encouraged by the quality and depth of the leadership team (listed below) we’ve recruited to date and look forward to announcing more appointments soon. To read more about our appointments, please go to our transition website at www.billhaslam.org.”

“And with the Inaugural approaching and a goal to have the most inclusive celebration possible, things are really starting to come together for the weekend of January 15th. The festivities will kick-off Friday night with a celebration event downtown. The Inaugural Ceremony will take place mid-morning Saturday at Legislative Plaza and the evening celebrations will be held at the newly renovated Opryland Hotel. We are also honored to invite Tennesseans to the Executive Residence on Sunday for an Open House. Details are still being finalized with many of the events free and open to the public. A separate website with all of this information and more is in the works. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Inaugural Team at 615.690.8668.”