UT Workshops to Teach Farmers How to Keep Records for Value-Added Enterprises

Sirloin SteakKeeping good business records is critical for any value-added farm business, says Hal Pepper, Financial Analysis Specialist with the University of Tennessee Extension. “Direct marketers, food processors and agritourism operators who keep good records are better able to analyze their costs and returns and evaluate market outlets.”

In December of this year and March 2018, Pepper along with Les Humpal, Dallas Manning and Danny Morris from UT Extension will present a seven-hour workshop designed to help farmers learn to keep better financial records. Participants will be introduced to QuickBooks accounting software and learn about setting up a chart of accounts, items, customers, and vendors, entering sales and recording deposits, paying bills and writing checks and creating reports. The workshop is designed for producers who sell fresh and processed farm products at direct marketing outlets such as farmers markets, on-farm stands, pick-your-own and agritourism operations.

“Record Keeping for Successful Value-Added Enterprises” will be held on the following dates at several locations across the state:

  • December 12, Martin
  • December 13, Carthage
  • December 14, Chattanooga
  • March 13, Memphis
  • March 14, Franklin
  • March 15, Knoxville

Pre-registration is required, and the workshop will begin with check-in at 8:30 a.m. local time. The workshop will end at 4 p.m.

The registration fee is $20 per person and lunch is provided. Space is limited and pre-registration is required no later than five business days prior to each workshop. Information about the workshop is available on the Center’s website: ag.tennessee.edu/cpa and registration is now open online at tiny.utk.edu/farmrecords.

This workshop fulfills a TAEP educational requirement in only the following Producer Diversification sectors: Agritourism, Fruits & Vegetables and Value-Added. For additional information regarding educational programs for TAEP requirements, please contact Clay Dunivan at the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, 615-837-5348.

The “Record Keeping for Successful Value-Added Enterprises” workshop was developed by the UT Center for Profitable Agriculture through funding provided by Southern Risk Management Education and is based upon work supported by USDA/NIFA under Award Number 2015-49200-24228.

Learn more about the Center for Profitable Agriculture at ag.tennessee.edu/cpa. Contact Pepper with questions about the workshop at hal.pepper@utk.edu or 931-486-2777.

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New Program to Help Veterans, Others Who Want to Become Farmers

American Flag On A Barn

Fewer than 1 percent of the population of America can count themselves as farmers, so the question becomes, “Who will comprise the next generation of farmers?”

A nationwide movement by the Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC) believes that veterans might serve their country in a new capacity, as providers of the nation’s food and fiber – and help themselves in the process. USDA and many in Tennessee, including University of Tennessee Extension, Tennessee State University Extension and the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, agree.  With support from the USDA, a new program is coming to Tennessee to help the dreams of some veterans become a reality. It may also help others who would like to farm, but don’t know where or how to start.

The Tennessee Beginning Farmers Development Program (TBFD) will provide resources and assistance to beginning farmers, especially those who are military personnel, veterans, and farmers with disabilities. Funded with two 3-year awards from USDA, the TBFD will launch in early 2018 in upper Middle Tennessee, and then expand statewide. Upper Middle Tennessee was chosen because of its proximity to Fort Campbell, which has a high concentration of military personnel including those who are on active duty, discharged and retired. The program will be expanded statewide in years 2 and 3.

Agriculture offers purpose and opportunity, as well as physical and psychological benefits. The TBFD will work to connect the opportunity of agriculture to Tennesseans who hope to start, develop and fund an agriculture-based enterprise.

Eileen Legault, UT Extension Area Specialist with the Tennessee AgrAbility Project (TNAP), says, “Another goal of TBFD is to help build a network of veterans across the state who are beginning farmers. We are looking for farmers who are interested in mentoring these beginning farmers or maybe offering a learning internship at their farm.” Legault is excited to help beginning farmers. “With all the USDA resources available and Extension educational programs, AgrAbility and TBFD are helping farmers with disabilities see that farming with a disability is possible with modifications and assistive technology. Veterans with disabilities may see their disability as a barrier to their dream of farming, but through this grant we will offer hope and resources to make those dreams happen,” she said.

Karla Kean, TSU Extension Agent in Montgomery County and West Tennessee Program Manager, says that TBFD programs will not only address traditional agriculture, but will also offer opportunities in the fields of horticulture, horticultural therapy and the tree care industry. “This project is going to be very beneficial for beginning farmers and especially those transitioning out of the military who want to learn more about farming.” 

Jenni Goodrich, the East Tennessee Program Manager with TSU Extension in Morgan County, encourages all farmers to establish realistic goals, a farm business plan, a farm safety and health plan and a marketing plan so they are successful and profitable.  As the TSU Small Farm Veteran outreach contact, Goodrich shares her voice of experience as a veteran’s widow and offers background information on farming to those new to the endeavor.

Over the last 4 years Tennessee Extension has referred beginning farmers to Tennessee New Farmer Academy, a seven-month certification program with hands-on farming led by Finis Stribling, TSU Area Extension Specialist. The academy will expand statewide in 2018 and tie in with beginning farmer education opportunities.

The USDA awards, which amount to nearly $739,000 over the course of 3 years in separate grants to the two universities, will help fund UT and TSU Extension specialists as they meet with farmers to develop a business and financial plan for their farms to help beginning farmers’ efforts lead to success. TBFD is a partnership between University of Tennessee Extension, Tennessee State University Extension, Tennessee AgrAbility Project, the Farmer Veteran Coalition and Tennessee Department of Agriculture, which supports the Homegrown by Heroes project through their Pick Tennessee Products program. Tim Prather, a specialist with UT Extension, will serve as the principal investigator for the UT portion of the grant and for the Tennessee AgrAbility Project. Dr. Roy Bullock, TSU Extension Professor and Agriculture Program Leader, is coordinating the TSU grant.

Among the first steps of the project is gathering citizen input. TBFD specialists have developed a survey to help assess beginning farmer needs across the state. The survey will close December 1, 2017, and can be found at extension.tennessee.edu/beginningfarmers. More information can also be found on the Tennessee Beginning Farmer Development Facebook page. 

The UT/TSU Montgomery County Extension office will hold a Tennessee Beginner Farmer Development stakeholder meeting on Monday, December 4, at 6 p.m.  This will be held at the Montgomery County Courthouse, 2 Millennium Plaza, Clarksville, in the third floor meeting room. Those who can’t attend can contact Kean for more information, 931-648-5725,kkean1@tnstate.edu.

Through its mission of research, teaching and extension, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions. ag.tennessee.edu.

Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association to Hold 33rd Annual Convention and Trade Show

1-1The Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association (TCA) will celebrate 33 years of serving the state’s cattle producers with its annual convention and trade show in Murfreesboro, Tenn. on January 26-27. Nearly 1,000 attendees will hear from top livestock industry speakers addressing topics like herd health, forage systems, sustainability, and the current state of the beef business.

Members will have the opportunity to vote on two TCA resolutions and Board of Directors appointees at the Delegate Session on Friday, Jan. 26.

Informational breakout sessions called, “Cow Colleges” will be held on both Friday and Saturday. The speakers at these sessions include: Craig Uden, president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA); Ashley Lyon McDonald, ‎Senior Director of Sustainability for NCBA; Tom Short with Zoetis, who will discuss adding value to Tennessee feeder calves; Gregg Braun, USDA Grazing Specialist, who will discuss maximizing forage use; Hannah Thompson-Weeman, vice president of communications for the Animal Agriculture Alliance, who will discuss how animal agriculture is under attack; and finally, representatives from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, Tennessee Beef Industry Council and Center for Profitable Agriculture will share updates on their program areas.

“I am excited about our speaker line up this year,” said Steve Anderson, TCA’s president and cattle producer from Smith County. “Attendees are going to learn a lot of valuable information for their farms. They’ll also have a chance to network with other cattle producers and vote on association policy which gives us all a voice at the capitol.”

In conjunction with TCA events, the Tennessee Dairy Producers Association (TDPA) will also meet. TDPA will hold its own meetings but will come together for general sessions. Additionally, UT Agriculture Extension Veterinarian Dr. Lew Strickland is once again arranging for a Veterinarian Continuing Education Seminar to be held in conjunction with the meeting.
Beginning at 8 a.m. on Friday, attendees can visit the trade to talk with more than 100 exhibitors. Vendors will be showing off new products, services, and the latest technology for the beef and dairy industries. Also in the trade show, there will be a live cattle video auction, followed by an analysis from UT’s Agricultural Economist Dr. Andrew Griffith and Jodee Inman from the USDA.

Also on Friday, TCA will be presenting several scholarships to youth and honoring outstanding members during the awards luncheon.

On Saturday, there will be a special opportunity for the youth participate in activities including a quiz bowl, scavenger hunt, and workshops led by some of Tennessee’s brightest young agriculture advocates.

Pre-registration is $20 for Friday or $15 for Saturday. It is $30 for both Friday and Saturday. This includes admission to all Cow Colleges, the trade show, and the Best of Beef Reception. Lunch is extra. Pre-registration ends Jan. 19. Late registration and registration at the door will be an additional $10 over pre-registration fees.

Attendees should register by calling the TCA office at (615) 896-2333 or by downloading and mailing in the online form which can be found at www.tncattle.org. A full schedule of events can also be found on the TCA website. If attendees would like to register for the TDPA sessions, they need to register with Stan Butt. If they are attending the Veterinarian sessions, they’ll register with Dr. Strickland. For hotel reservations, call the Embassy Suites Hotel at (615) 890-4464 or online: www.murfreesboro.embassysuites.com.

TCA was founded in 1985 and has nearly 7,000 members from across the state and the southeast. The organization works to provide the cattlemen of Tennessee with an organization through which they may function collectively to protect their interests and work toward the solution of cattle industry problems and to build the necessary goodwill that will bring both governmental esteem and recognition to the industry.

For more information visit www.tncattle.org, email info@tncattle.org or call (615) 896-2333. Be sure to follow the TCA on our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/tncattle and Twitter account: @TennesseeCattle.