The Tennessee Department of Agriculture has released the 2011 application for the Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program.

Applications can be submitted June 1-7 and should not be postmarked prior to June 1. Applications are accepted on a first come, first serve basis, so producers are encouraged to apply early. 

“The Ag Enhancement Program is a very important economic development tool for our farmers and rural communities,” said Governor Bill Haslam. “This program has been successful in providing more opportunities for farmers to participate, increasing farm income and generating additional economic activity in our rural areas.”

This year’s program offers the same menu of cost share opportunities as last year. This includes the livestock equipment, cattle genetics, hay storage, feed storage, grain storage and producer diversification opportunities. To date, TAEP has provided cost share funds for more than 21,000 projects.

“The Ag Enhancement Program remains strong and is important for helping farmers make strategic investments that will pay off in the long run,” said state Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson. “I encourage farmers to apply at the beginning of the application period as we expect another year of high demand for these cost share opportunities.”

Governor Haslam has proposed restoring full funding for the program, which is supported through dedicated revenue from cigarette sales. TAEP was established in 2005 and supported by the General Assembly to increase farm income by helping farmers invest in better farming practices and by encouraging diversification and innovation. Through TAEP, farmers can qualify for 35 or 50 percent cost share, ranging from a maximum of $1,200 to $15,000 depending on the project.

Applications are available at most farm agencies including USDA Farm Service Agency, UT Extension and Farm Bureau offices, as well as most farm supply stores. To ensure accuracy, producers are encouraged to work with their local Extension agent or local TDA representative when completing the application.

Producers can get important messages and updates on the program by calling 1-800-342-8206. For more information or to download an application, visit www.TN.gov/agriculture/enhancement.