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Six more grants

Fifth round of Agriculture Enterprise Fund recipients announced in Jackson
Story and photo by: Sarah Geyer 1/28/2019


Six Agriculture Enterprise Fund grants were announced on Dec. 17 in Jackson. Participating in the ceremony were, from left, Jai Templeton, commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Agriculture; Dolores Gresham, state senator; Hugh and Jo Clark of Clark Lumber Company, Inc.; Steve, Cody, and Terry Nash of Nash Family Creamery; Elizabeth and Jeffrey Turner of Shop Springs Creamery; Skip Taylor of Fayette Packing Company; Brooxie Carlton, deputy assistant commissioner for economic and community development; and Ed Harlan, assistant commissioner for agricultural advancement.
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Six Tennessee businesses now have the opportunity to grow and positively impact rural economies through grants provided by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s (TDA) Agriculture Enterprise Fund (AEF).

On Dec. 17, TDA Commissioner Jai Templeton and Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development Deputy Assistant Commissioner Brooxie Carlton announced the fifth round of recipients of funding through the program during a ceremony held at the Farmers Market in Jackson. Several of the recipients attended the event, along with local, state, and industry leaders.

The newest AEF grant recipients and projects are:

• Clark Lumber, Macon County — adding equipment that will double production capacity, hire more skilled employees, and purchase more lumber from the surrounding area;

• Fayette Packing, Fayette County — adding a processing room to increase capacity and process more local livestock and reduce wait time for farmers;

• Lost State Distilling, Sullivan County — creating a new distilling business that will use locally produced grain from two to five local farms and create 15 new jobs;

• Nash Family Creamery, Bedford County — adding a creamery to process milk, ice cream, and cheese, as well as build a restaurant and retail shop, creating an estimated 12 new jobs;

• Shop Springs Creamery, Wilson County — adding a creamery to bottle their own milk for sale at their farm store and local farmers markets;

• Waverly Wood, Humphreys County — adding a pine scragg mill to produce lumber for pallet manufacturers, allowing them to purchase pine from area landowners and create a new market for that lumber in the area.

“The Agriculture Enterprise Fund program has made an economic impact of more than $25 million for our state since we first began to award these grants one year ago,” said Templeton, adding that with this fifth round of recipients, the AEF has funded 34 projects in 25 counties. “While we are proud of the successes so far, we are excited to see the continued opportunities and new jobs that will result from this program.”

As part of the event, recipient Jeffrey Turner, owner of Shop Springs Creamery, addressed the crowd.

“This grant money is really going to benefit our operation,” said Turner. “[My wife Elizabeth and I] are humbled and honored to be one of the recipients. We want to say a big thank you to [the TDA] for making these funds available, and we encourage anyone who is interested in adding value to a product to learn more about the AEF program.”

Successful grant recipients must demonstrate strong potential for impact on local farm income, access to markets, increased capacity, or agricultural innovation. Priority is given to businesses located in at-risk or distressed counties.

A product of the Governor’s Rural Task Force, the AEF is an incentive program that supports the priority of job creation and economic growth by facilitating agricultural development in Tennessee. It provides assistance to new and expanding Tennessee agriculture, forestry, and food businesses, particularly in rural areas.

For more information about the AEF, visit or email Kyle Hensley at

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