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Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program (TAEP) - Producer Diversification

Cost Share Program for Tennessee Producers to
Diversify Agricultural Products in a Range of Sectors

GrantWatch ID#: 175953
Agency Type:

State

Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA)

10/16/17 Postmark or Delivered

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A cost share program providing reimbursements of up to $10,000 and up to $15,000 to Tennessee agricultural producers to improve and expand working farms and operations by diversifying agricultural products. Funding is available in the following industry sectors: fruit and vegetable, honey bee, agritourism, horticulture, value-added products, and organic. Project categories include farm infrastructure, marketing, and specialized equipment.

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

Agritourism Sector

For the purposes of TAEP, an eligible Agritourism working farm offers on-the-farm experiences relating to production agriculture for a fee and is aimed at increasing profitability of the operation.
-Farm education (tours of production agriculture)
-Farm activities (pick your own, fee-fishing)
-Farm fun (corn maze, hayrides)
-Farm purchases (retail sales of farm’s agricultural products)

The proposed activity/project must encompass quality expansion or improvement of the applicant’s farm and business. The eligible categories are: farm infrastructure, specialty equipment, and marketing.

Competitive Projects - Agritourism
-Emphasis is given to projects that focus on long-term public use considerations which increase opportunities for profitability.
-Marketing projects that are long term in nature and enhance outreach of the farm to the public are encouraged.
-Preference will be given to projects that focus on agricultural education and production over agricultural entertainment. Examples of agricultural entertainment include weddings, concerts, bed and breakfasts, trail rides, playgrounds, etc.

Fruit and Vegetable Sector:

For the purposes of TAEP, an eligible Fruit and Vegetable operation is involved in the production of produce for sale and is aimed at increasing profitability of the operation.

-Fruit and vegetable grower
-Pumpkin producers
-Viticulture – grape production only

The proposed activity/project must encompass quality expansion or improvement of the applicant’s farm and business. The eligible categories are: farm infrastructure, specialty equipment, and marketing.

Competitive Projects - Fruit and Vegetable:
-Priority is given to projects that focus on improving or increasing production.
-Marketing projects that are long-term in nature are allowed but are not considered as competitive as those involving production.

Honey Bee Sector:

For the purposes of TAEP, an eligible Honey Bee producer must meet the minimum requirements of beekeeping experience and number of existing colonies as outlined below in Honey Bee Applicant Requirements.

The proposed activity must encompass quality expansion or improvement of pollination or honey production. The eligible categories are: apiary expansion, honey processing equipment, pollination services, and honey processing facility.

Competitive Projects - Honey Bee:
-Priority is given to projects that focus on improving or increasing production of honey, bees, or hive related products.
-Priority is given to proposals with a well-developed marketing strategy.

Horticulture Sector:

For the purposes of TAEP, an eligible Horticulture operation is involved in the production of tree/plant stock for sale and is aimed at increasing profitability of the operation.

-Tree farms
-Nurseries
-Plant farms

The proposed activity/project must encompass quality expansion or improvement of the applicant’s farm and business. The eligible categories are: farm infrastructure, specialty equipment, and marketing.

Competitive Projects - Horticulture:
-Priority is given to projects that focus on improving or increasing production.
-Marketing projects that are long-term in nature are allowed but are not considered as competitive as those involving production.

Organic Sector:

For the purposes of TAEP, an eligible organic operation is involved in the production and sale of certified USDA Organic products (fruits, vegetables, and meats) and is aimed at increasing profitability of the operation. Applicant must be certified USDA Organic or working towards certification to qualify. Certification must be current at the time of reimbursement request.

-Organic fruit producer
-Organic viticulture producer
-Organic vegetable producer
-Organic farm fresh meat producer

The proposed activity/project must encompass quality expansion or improvement of the applicant’s farm and business. The eligible categories are: farm infrastructure, specialty equipment, and marketing.

Competitive Projects – Organic
-Priority is given to projects that focus on improving or increasing production.
-Marketing projects that are long-term in nature are allowed but are not considered as competitive as those involving production.

TAEP staff will coordinate with UT Extension and USDA to verify organic compliance. Applicants need to send a copy of their USDA Organic certificate and most current letter of compliance for TAEP records.

Value-Added Products Sector:

For the purposes of TAEP, an eligible Value-Added business produces products for sale that use raw foods or fibers produced by their agricultural operation. Applicants must use agricultural products that have been grown on their farm as primary source of the value-added product. Businesses within the sector include a variety of products such as:

-Cheese
-Clothing
-Crafts
-Farm fresh meats
-Ice cream
-Jams
-Jellies
-Relishes
-Salsa
-Other

The proposed activity/project must encompass quality expansion or improvement of the applicant’s farm and business. The eligible categories are: farm infrastructure, specialty equipment, and marketing.

Competitive Projects – Value-Added Products:
-Priority is given to projects that focus on improving or increasing production.
-Producers that are producing 100% of the raw food or fiber product(s) to be used in their value-added enterprise are given priority over off-farm sourcing of raw product.
-Marketing projects are allowed but are not considered as competitive as those involving production.

-Standard Producer Reimbursement Maximum: $10,000
-Master Producer Reimbursement Maximum: $15,000

Program purchases can be made starting October 1, 2017 and must be completed by program reimbursement deadline.

The reimbursement deadline for Producer Diversification is September 1, 2018.

To be eligible for TAEP cost share, applicant must:
1. Be a citizen of the United States of America or lawfully present in the United States.
2. Be an individual Tennessee resident operating a farm located in Tennessee.
3. Be at least 18 years old during the application period.
4. Have a working farm/existing agricultural operation in order to be competitive.
5. Have led a Federal IRS Schedule F (Form 1040), Profit or Loss from Farming, within the last two years (2015 or 2016).

Applicant will not be required to submit a copy of their Schedule F at the time of application. However, applicant may be asked to submit a copy of their Schedule F prior to TAEP approval to verify their farming operation. If your operation does not file a Schedule F, please contact TAEP about alternate documentation to verify farming status.

Honey Bee Applicant Requirements:

Experience:
-Minimum experience of five (5) years and current ownership of at least fifteen (15) colonies is required to participate.
-Minimum experience of five (5) years and current ownership of at least thirty (30) existing colonies is required to request cost share for construction of a TDA licensed and inspected Honey Processing Facility.
-Applicant must report experience and number of hives in application proposal to be eligible.
-If the applicant has assisted other beekeepers and mentors in working directly with bees, he or she may count this hands-on experience toward the requirements. The applicant must list the beekeeper’s name, contact information, and length of time spent assisting this beekeeper for this experience to be considered.
-There is not a year requirement for ownership of hives but applicants must own required number of hives at time of application.

Consumer & Industry Services (Regulatory):
-Apiaries must be registered with the State of Tennessee by the time of the application period (October 1 – 16, 2017). Contact TDA State Apiarist at 615-837-5342 for more information.
-If you pack or sell more than (150) gallons of honey per year, you must be licensed and inspected by the State of Tennessee as a food manufacturing facility. Contact TDA Consumer & Industry Services at 615-837-5153 for more information.

Horticulture Applicant Requirements:

Experience:
-The applicant’s business must produce the majority of their plants from seed or cutting to finished product. — Businesses who make the majority of their gross sales from plants purchased for resale are not eligible.

Consumer & Industry Services (Regulatory):
-Producers must meet all state and local regulatory requirements at time of application submission (October 1 – 16, 2017).
-Applicants producing nursery stock, greenhouse plants, turf grass, etc. must be licensed by the State of Tennessee.

Reimbursement:
1. Receipts dated prior to October 1, 2017 are not eligible.
2. Receipts for in-kind services are not eligible (trade-in value is not eligible).
3. Used equipment, used materials, and leased equipment are not eligible for cost share reimbursement.
4. Labor provided by applicant is not eligible for cost share reimbursement.
5. Applicant cannot be reimbursed for purchases from a business where applicant participates in ownership (producer cooperatives excluded).
6. Applicants cannot combine projects with other applicants and submit more than one reimbursement for the same item.
7. Reimbursement documentation must be postmarked or hand delivered by the deadline. Additional processing time is required for incomplete reimbursement requests and requests submitted within one month of the program deadline. It is recommended that you submit your reimbursement request as soon as your project is completed.
8. There can only be one reimbursement payment per cost share approval. Projects must be completed before submitting reimbursement documentation.
9. Falsifying applications, invoices or other documents submitted to TDA may make producer and farm ineligible to participate in present and/or future TDA programs, and may result in civil litigation or criminal prosecution.

Applicants are advised to review the complete guidelines (attached below) for eligible and ineligible items under the sector for which they intend to apply.

Each sector allows for two cost share percentage options – 35% and 50%. 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, workshops, and specific certifications. Attendance is verified and the registered name must match the approved applicant to be eligible for 50% cost share.

Applicants are advised to review the complete guidelines of the sector for which they intend to apply.

Applications must be postmarked or hand-delivered between October 1 and October 16, 2017.

Approval notifications are scheduled to be mailed in mid-December.

FAQ:
http://www.tn.gov/agriculture/topic/ag-enhancement-faqs

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Tennessee Department of Agriculture
Holeman Building
424 Hogan Road
Nashville, TN 37220

Information Line:
1.800.342.8206

producer.diversification@tn.gov

See the full text of this grant

USA: Tennessee

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