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Record-setting round

Ag Enterprise Fund awards 24 recipients in two final allocations for 2019


Twenty-four Tennessee businesses, including Flowers Creamery of Giles County, were awarded Ag Enterprise Fund grants by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture as a part of the eighth and ninth allocation rounds of the program, which began in 2018.
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Recipients reached record numbers in the two latest allocations of the state’s Agriculture Enterprise Fund (AEF). The Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA) awarded 11 Tennessee businesses, its eighth and largest group of AEF recipients, on Oct. 1, and topped that number on Dec. 13, naming 13 grant winners for the program’s ninth round.

“The AEF program continues to effectively support the expansion of agribusinesses in rural Tennessee,” said Governor Bill Lee. “We’re proud to support more businesses than ever before with [these latest two rounds], and our goal is to continue growing the impact of the Agriculture Enterprise Fund for years to come.”

Created in 2018, AEF is an incentive program that supports job creation and economic growth by facilitating agricultural development in Tennessee. It provides assistance to new and expanding Tennessee agriculture, forestry, and food businesses, particularly in rural counties. Since AEF’s inception, TDA has awarded more than $3.3 million to Tennessee businesses, which, in turn, have sparked nearly $53 million in agriculture and forest-product economic development.

 “One of Tennessee’s major goals is making sure our rural communities are able to succeed in our state,” said Bob Rolfe, Economic and Community Development Commissioner, during the Oct. 1 award ceremony. “Because of programs like the Agriculture Enterprise Fund, that goal is within reach.”

October 2019 AEF grant recipients and projects:

• Batey Farms, Rutherford County — adding a seed cleaning facility

• Blaze It Firewood, Benton County — expanding with a new product line

• Flowers Creamery, Giles County — dairy farm adding a creamery

• Giles Logging, Anderson County — adding new equipment

• Howell and Sons, Hardeman County — lumber company adding a sawmill

• Knockout Firewood, Sevier County — new kiln-dried firewood producer

• Morristown Stave, Hamblen County — new stave mill

• Northeast Forest Products, Hamblen County — new timber company

• Tennessee Tree Cutters, Grundy County — adding new equipment

• Thompson Appalachian Hardwoods, Franklin County –— adding a logging crew

• Vegan Valley/Nutritional Food Designs, Greene County — expanding storage capacity

“Of these 11 recipients, eight are forestry and wood products businesses,” said Tennessee Agriculture Commissioner Charlie Hatcher, D.V.M., during the ceremony. “A large part of rural Tennessee’s economy is impacted by forestry and wood products, and promoting the expansion of these businesses will tie directly into our focus of supporting distressed and at-risk counties.”

December 2019 AEF grant recipients

and projects:

• Amber Falls Winery, Maury County — adding new packaging equipment

• Beaty Lumber, Fentress County — adding a new loader to transport more logs

• Colonial Roots, Greene County — expanding hemp extraction and drying facility

• LB Processors, Cheatham County — expanding hemp extraction and drying facility

• Mountain Valley Vineyards, Sevier County — adding new bottling equipment

• Plateau Sawmill, Fentress County — adding a new chipper and debarker

• Rich Farms, Clay County — new organic laying hen operation

• Stony Creek Colors, Robertson County — adding seed preparation equipment

• The Wood Shed, McNairy County -— new business producing custom-cut lumber

• Traditions Logging, Grainger County — adding a new bulldozer

• Tree Products, LLC, Scott County — expanding engineered wood flooring plant

• Unaka Forest Products, Washington County — adding a new wood pallet machine

“The recipients of this ninth round of funding are investing more than $8 million in their Tennessee agriculture and forest-product businesses,” said Gov. Lee. “Farmers and forest landowners throughout the state will benefit from these projects, and we’re proud to support them through the Agriculture Enterprise Fund.”

Successful grant recipients must demonstrate a strong potential for impact on local farm income, access to markets, increased capacity, or agricultural innovation. Priority is given to businesses located in at-risk or distressed counties.

Find more information about the Ag Enterprise Fund at

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