Ruth Correll

Make no mistake … the Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program (TAEP) has made a significant impact for farmers across the State of Tennessee. 

It has also had a significant impact on the economy of Tennessee. More than $185 million has been invested in 62,942 producer projects from 2005 through 2019. And equally important, each TAEP dollar generates $6.09 in local economies.

The TAEP program began in 2005 to provide cost share dollars to agriculture producers to help with long-term investments. 

The importance of agriculture to the state’s economy was recognized by many and the idea was endorsed by other legislators and those in leadership and the idea was adopted. This program has benefited so many in rural communities across the entire state.

The goals of this program are to allow producers to maximize farm profits, adapt to changing market situations, improve operation safety, increase farm efficiency, and make a positive economic impact in their communities. Programs include, Dairy Solutions, Herd Health, Genetics, Row Crop Solutions, Hay Storage, Livestock Equipment, Livestock Solutions, Working Facility Structures, Poultry Grower, and Producer Diversification.

The application period for 2020 is Oct. 1-7. Applications will be available soon at the Extension Office, the USDA Service Center, and farm supply stores. Application can also be made online at the Tennessee Department of Agriculture: www.tn.gov/agriculture/farms/taep. Online applications are encouraged. There will be no hand-delivered applications this year. Applications cannot be faxed or emailed.

Basic requirements include: (See application for all requirements)

1. Be a Tennessee resident operating a farm in Tennessee

2. Have filed a Federal IRS Schedule F (Form 1040), Profit or Loss from Farming, within the last two years (2018 or 2019). (If your operation does not file a Schedule F, please contact TAEP about alternate documentation to verify farming status.)

3. Meet minimum livestock/acreage requirements for chosen program(s). Verification of minimum requirements may be requested prior to approval.

4. Have a current certification/permit based on type of livestock producer at time of application. Certificates and permits must be completed by the applicant. No substitutions allowed.

All approved applicants are eligible for 35 percent (Standard Producer) cost share. For applicants wanting to qualify for 50 percent cost share (Master Producer), an eligible master producer certificate is required at time of reimbursement (not time of application).

TAEP approved applicants who have an eligible master producer certificate at the time of reimbursement may qualify for up to 50 percent cost share of the program maximum. Eligible courses include Master Beef or Master Dairy for cattle producers and Master Small Ruminant or Master Dairy for goat and sheep producers. Certificates must have been issued 2017 or after to be considered current for the 2020 TAEP.

Producer Diversification - To learn more TAEP cost share opportunities for Agritourism, Fruit and Vegetable, Honey Bee, Horticulture, Organic, and Value-Added sectors, go to www.tn.gov/agriculture/farms/taep.

Contact your local UT/TSU Extension office to inquire about educational course offerings or certifications.

Ruth Correll works at the UT Extension-TSU Cooperative Extension Wilson County.

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