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Agriculture Enterprise Fund Recipients Announced

Monday, April 16, 2018 | 10:41am

NASHVILLE – Nine more Tennessee businesses will now have the opportunity to grow and positively impact rural economies through grants provided by the Agriculture Enterprise Fund (AEF).

Today, Tennessee Agriculture Commissioner Jai Templeton and Economic and Community Development Assistant Commissioner Amy New joined local, state and business leaders in Clay County to announce the second group of recipients of funding through the new program. This year’s total funding currently adds up to more than $767,000 of the $1 million set aside for the AEF.

A product of the Governor’s Rural Task Force, the AEF is an incentive program that supports Governor Haslam’s priority of job creation and economic development by facilitating agricultural development in Tennessee. It provides assistance to new and expanding Tennessee agriculture and food businesses, particularly in rural counties.

“As we see the positive outcomes of our first round of grants, we look forward to continued growth of agribusinesses through the Agriculture Enterprise Fund,” Commissioner Templeton said. “The nine recipients announced today will continue to provide opportunities for communities all across Tennessee.”

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.

"We place a great emphasis on spurring economic growth in rural areas of our state and helping our most vulnerable counties succeed,” TNECD Commissioner Bob Rolfe said. “In 2017, 45 percent of TNECD’s projects were located in rural Tennessee, and we want to continue our work to provide business development opportunities as well as promote community and agricultural development throughout the state.”

AEF grant recipients and projects announced today include:
• Anderson Meats and Processing, Smith County –building a new meat processing facility
• Back Country Harvesters, Bledsoe County – new business for firewood and bulk shavings
• Blankenship Sawmill, Bledsoe County – upgrading a sawmill
• Circle S Farms, Wilson County – expanding a meat processing facility
• East Tennessee Feed and Seed, Monroe County – adding a storage and mixing facility
• Franks Cedar Log & Lumber, Hardin County – creating new shavings product
• G.F. Hardwoods, Clay County – improving delivery efficiency for hardwood lumber
• Potts Processing, Bedford County – expanding a meat processing facility
• Villa Nove Vineyard, Johnson County – adding a farm winery and selling directly to public

“At G.F. Hardwoods, we are extremely blessed to be a recipient of the Ag Enterprise Fund for 2018,” April Patterson of G.F. Hardwoods said. “Forestry is an incredibly important part of our state and local economies, and we are thrilled to see state support for agricultural activities and businesses like ours.”

You will find more information about the Tennessee Agriculture Enterprise Fund by clicking here, or by emailing Laura Vaught at laura.vaught@tn.gov.