The Tennessee Department of Agriculture is hosting a series of listening sessions across the state in April and May for farmers, forest landowners and agribusinesses.

The purpose of the meetings is to hear stakeholder concerns about current issues and to explore opportunities for developing our rural economy and increasing farm and forest income.

“We want to be available to our producers, landowners and agribusinesses to hear their concerns and to get their input on how to enhance our rural communities and economy,” Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson said.

“This is also about ongoing efforts to look at how we, as an agency, can provide better service and be more responsive to challenges and opportunities.

“Agriculture and forestry are growing businesses in Tennessee. We must find the best ways to maintain and expand infrastructure while encouraging long-term profitability.”

A total of five listening sessions are scheduled with two being devoted specifically to discussing forestry issues as follows:

Agriculture listening sessions:


• April 19 at 10 a.m. EDT — Bradley County, Tri-State Exhibition Center, I-75 Exit 20; 


• April 26 at 7 p.m. CDT — Weakley County, Moore Farms, 2887 Paris Hwy. 54, Dresden
;

• May 1 at 7 p.m. CDT — Coffee County Farm Bureau Insurance, 225 E. Main St., Manchester.

Forestry listening sessions:


• May 3 at 7 p.m. CDT — Lawrence County, Columbia State Community College, Conference Room 1620, Springer Rd., Lawrenceburg
;

• May 15 at 7 p.m. CDT — Cumberland County, Cumberland County Fairgrounds Multi-Purpose Room, 1398 Livingston Rd., Crossville.

The agenda for the sessions include remarks by Commissioner Johnson and an overview of the Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program and the recently formed Agriculture and Forestry Economic Development Task Force. There will also be time for open discussion by participants.

More listening sessions will be planned for the fall to include a focus on other industry sectors. For more information about the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, visit www.tn.gov/agriculture.