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COVID-19 INFORMATION

Producer Diversification

Producer Diversification Overview

The goal of the Producer Diversification program is to encourage agricultural producers to expand or improve their working farm/existing operation through the production of diversified agricultural products. This program provides cost share opportunities for industry sectors of Agritourism, Fruit & Vegetable, Honey Bee, Horticulture, Organic, and Value-Added Products. Project categories include farm infrastructure, marketing, and specialized equipment.  

Application Proposal, Budget, and Cost Quotes

The Producer Diversification program requires the applicant to submit an application form and a written proposal using the proposal questionnaire template. The proposal questionnaire template outlines the applicant’s agricultural operation(s), previous TAEP history, marketing plan, proposed project(s), line-item project budget(s), and special requirement attendance – if requesting 50% cost share. Written cost estimates from each vendor/supplier are also required with the application proposal. Researching all costs associated with each proposed project is extremely important. Providing a line-item budget allows the review committee to make adjustments to the budget if there are items listed which are not approved.  This allows for a partial project approval if needed.  Funding allocation is based upon the final approved budget and the cost share percentage requested. Allocation amounts cannot exceed the program maximums.

Note: Applications are competitively evaluated by industry sector according to each individual project. Projects are identified primarily by the sector in which they are eligible.

If approved, the applicant must pay for and complete all approved projects prior to submitting their cost share reimbursement request. Only one reimbursement payment is allowed per program.

Application Evaluation

Applications must merit financial support, clearly state objectives, provide a sound work plan and prove applicant expertise necessary to successfully complete project(s). Only complete applications which include sufficient information will be considered for evaluation.  An onsite visit or meeting may be required as part of the evaluation process.

Proposed activities must:

  • Demonstrate significant potential for increasing farm income
  • Be market driven and have a viable marketing plan
  • Establish something new, not maintain ongoing projects
  • Meet all state and local food safety and regulatory requirements
  • Produce long-term benefits for the farm

Project Examples

Project Description Sector   Project Description Sector
Apiary expansion Honey Bee   Processing equipment for on-farm products Value-Added Products
Flail mower Organic   Retail shelters for farm produce Agritourism
Packing facility Horticulture   Restrooms for public use Agritourism
Greenhouse for growing
vegetables
Fruit & Vegetable   Roller crimper Organic
Honey processor/facility
Honey Bee   Loading area/dock Horticulture
Irrigation for farm produce
Fruit & Vegetable   Walk-in freezer for farm-fresh meats Value-Added Products

Special Requirements for 50% Cost Share

Each sector allows for two cost share percentage options. All approved applicants are eligible for 35% (Standard Producer) cost share. To be eligible for 50% (Master Producer), the approved applicant must complete the special requirements for the sector in which their project is eligible. Special requirements focus on education and include conferences, courses, events, master courses, workshops and specific certifications.  Attendance/certification is verified and the registered name must match the approved applicant to be eligible for 50% cost share.

Sector Special Requirement
Agritourism Option #1: Agritourism educational courses (2) – applicant must attend two eligible events
Option #2: UT Master certification (1): Farm Manager, Farm Family Health
Fruit & Vegetable Option #1: Fruit & Vegetable educational courses (2) – applicant must attend two eligible events
Option #2: UT Master certification (1): Farm Manager, Farm Family Health & Wellness
Option #3: GAP certification – applicant must provide certificate and current letter of compliance of time of reimbursement
Honey Bee UT Master certification (1): Beekeeper, Farm Manager, Farm Family Health & Wellness
Horticulture UT Master certification (1): Nursery Producer, Farm Manager, Farm Family Health & Wellness
Organic USDA Organic certification and current letter of compliance
Value-Added Option #1: Value-Added educational courses (2) – applicant must attend two eligible events
Option #2: UT Master certification (1): Farm Manager, Farm Family Health & Wellness
The Special Requirements List will be updated as new eligible courses become available.
Email producer.diversification@tn.gov for additional information.