State Agriculture Commissioner Ken Givens announced recent appointments in key marketing positions with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture to help farmers and agribusinesses take advantage of new opportunities.

“We have three outstanding additions to our Market Development staff, who will play an important role in helping the Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program (TAEP) cost share and other marketing and agribusiness growth programs move forward,” said Givens.

“I’m proud they have joined our team. Their experience in agriculture and knowledge of the industry will be invaluable to our efforts to build farm income.”

Pamela Bartholomew, a native of Decatur County, has been named the state’s agritourism coordinator. She is responsible for promoting agritourism operations in Tennessee and coordinating efforts to help the state’s farmers explore opportunities to increase farm income through tourism-related farm activities.

“As agritourism coordinator I have an amazing opportunity to work with some of the most energetic and knowledgeable people in the state and across the nation while helping develop agritourism here in Tennessee,” said Bartholomew, who received a bachelor’s degree in agriculture education from the University of Tennessee at Martin. “This new facet of Tennessee agriculture is already proving its potential, and my goal is to help interested farmers explore and maximize that potential.”

In August, Bartholomew will lead agritourism issues workshops in locations across the state and then Jan. 17-18, 2008, a statewide agritourism conference at Paris Landing State Park.

Kyle Holmberg, a native of Bolivar, has been appointed to the post of Agricultural Development Specialist with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture Market Development Division. Holmberg’s duties include international marketing, biofuels development and field verification for the state’s new cost share programs for Tennessee farmers.

Holmberg is a graduate of the University of Tennessee with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics. The new specialist is also a published author in a number of agricultural research and scholarly publications for his work in plant and soil science. His research was conducted as part of his studies toward a master’s degree in agronomy at Mississippi State University.

"It’s fulfilling to accomplish a childhood dream of working in the field of agriculture,” says Holmberg, “and to be able to do that with an organization so truly committed to the betterment of agriculture. This position is going to allow me to use every aspect of my background experiences, from farm production to my education in economics and agronomy. ”

Dresden native Wendy Lofton has been named the state’s new cattle marketing specialist. The position is part of the Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s TAEP cost share program for the state’s cattle producers. Lofton is a graduate of the University of Tennessee at Martin with both a bachelor’s degree in agriculture and an MBA.

“As coordinator for the TAEP Cattle Improvement Initiative, I’m involved with every aspect of the program, including the development of program guidelines, outreach to Tennessee cattle producers and application reviews and awards,” says Lofton.

“I really can’t wait to get out across the state and help Tennessee’s cattle producers understand what a great opportunity they have through this program and what steps they need to take to participate.”

For more information about the Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program or other agricultural marketing and agribusiness development programs, visit the TDA Market Development Web site at http://www.picktnproducts.org, or call (615) 837-5160.