The Tennessee Department of Agriculture has released the 2010 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. Producer Diversification remains a competitive program and applications with proposals will be accepted June 1-7.

“The Ag Enhancement Program remains strong and we expect to be able to put several millions of dollars on the ground to help farmers continue to make strategic investments,” said state Agriculture Commissioner Ken Givens. “We encourage farmers to apply early as we expect another year of high demand for these cost share opportunities.”

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 15,500 projects. A recent study has shown that for every state dollar invested, an additional $4.64 is generated in local economic activity.

New this year, the Cattle Genetics cost share opportunity has expanded to include some costs associated with bull soundness evaluations (BSE) and pregnancy testing. Also, Fruits and Vegetables have been moved to the priority area under Producer Diversification, allowing certain projects to be eligible for a 50 percent cost share.

TAEP is a state funded program established by Governor Phil Bredesen and supported by the General Assembly to increase farm income in Tennessee 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. 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.