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A trusted partner

Tennessee producers depend on Co-op for TAEP on-the-farm projects
Story and photos by: Sarah Geyer 1/28/2019


Livestock producers Will and Amanda Land of Shiloh built their covered working system last year through cost-share funds provided by the Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program. Approved for the 2019 program, the couple plans to build pens to extend the facility’s holding area.
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Here’s a tried-and-true, two-step plan for those receiving approval letters from the Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program:

Step 1: Celebrate! That on-the-farm project qualifies for cost-share funds.

Step 2: Relax! Let Co-op help with the rest.

At the ready with expert advice and outstanding service, Co-op will be a trusted partner through each step of the project process — from product recommendations to installation.

TAEP and Co-op. It’s an essential combination. Just ask Shiloh’s Will and Amanda Lands. After receiving approval for cattle-handling equipment last year, the couple turned to First Farmers Cooperative.

“We had an idea of what we wanted,” says Will who, along with Amanda, raise a small Angus and Angus/Hereford herd on their 80-acre farm. “The guys from Co-op came out, mapped, measured, drew up the plan, placed the order, and then helped us set it all up. With both of us working full-time jobs, I can’t even begin to think about how long it would have taken us to do all of that ourselves.”

That kind of help is a welcome change for the Lands. Since purchasing the McNairy County farm five years ago, they have tackled most of the work on their own. With Will’s cattle hauling business and Amanda working at Kimberly-Clark in Corinth, Miss., getting their farm into operating condition has been slow going.

Their first project, tearing down and replacing all the fencing, monopolized the couple’s time and budget for nearly two years. However, when 2016 arrived, they were ready to invest in cattle-handling equipment. That’s when the Lands first applied for TAEP funds. They were approved that January and purchased a Priefert S04 squeeze chute from First Farmers the following spring.

Will and Amanda set up the chute in a small barn and, with a makeshift alley and corral, they could work their herd of 24 mamas, their calves, and two bulls. The next year, the couple decided to use TAEP funds to build a complete working system. That’s when they called Jeremy Jones, a livestock specialist with First Farmers. Jeremy, along with fellow First Farmers livestock specialists Jason Hearn and Logan Shull, and Chris Seiber of Tennessee Farmers Cooperative, collaborated with the Lands to create their ideal facility. Along with the chute, the system includes:

• Priefert palpation cage

• 28 feet of Priefert Rough Stock adjustable alley with two adjustable sliding doors

• 135-degree Priefert Rough Stock open sweep tub

• 52 feet of W-W Classic panels with high pole gates to separate panel sections

• W-W Chaparral panels for loading out to trailers

• 5 Co-op SHD 7-bar tall gates built in

custom lengths by TFC’s Metal Fabrication plant.

With their new system in place, the Lands had one more TAEP project for the year: building a cover for the new working facility.

“Everything under that cover is bought with TAEP from Co-op,” says Will. “Of course there are other options out there where we can buy farm equipment, but Co-op has a diversity and quality of products that’s just better. And having local people to work with means a lot. I know I’m going to get excellent service.”

The Lands are among 6,344 Tennessee producers who have been approved this year for TAEP funds, bringing the total invested to more than $168 million.

Created in 2005, TAEP has helped the state’s producers improve their operations through nearly 58,000 on-the-farm projects in the areas of livestock genetics and equipment, hay storage, and feed and grain storage, as well as a wide range of producer diversification opportunities.

Most participating producers, like the Lands, say the cost-share program has allowed them to vastly improve farm safety and operational efficiency.

“With this new working system, the two of us can work the cows now with ease,” says Amanda. “[This facility] even allows me to work them by myself if needed, and that’s something I could have never done before. ”

The Lands applied for TAEP funds this year, too, and Amanda says they’ll probably build pens to extend their new cattle-working area. With several other projects in mind, the Lands say they are thankful for TAEP cost-share funds.

“Our customers comment every year about how much they appreciate this program, and we’re proud that they turn to us for help with many of their purchases,” says Jimmy Ogilvie, manager of TFC’s Farm, Home, and Fleet Department. “That’s why we’ve created a TAEP-focused website. We hope it will be a helpful tool for producers and our member Co-ops.”

The website,, features a “catalog” of TAEP-approved products available through Co-op. The extensive selection includes bunk feeders, chutes, feed bins, feeders, gates, guidance systems, handling equipment, head gates, mineral feeders, panels, scales, sprayers, spreaders, sweep systems, and working products from a variety of manufacturers.

The site also allows customers to find the addresses of participating Co-op stores, contact a Co-op customer service representative, or access helpful information and tips about TAEP including the application and reimbursement processes.

Those producers approved for the 2019 TAEP fund should begin planning their purchases soon. April 1 is the reimbursement request deadline for those buying livestock equipment; for all other programs, the reimbursement requests are due by Sept. 1.

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