Dealing with heat stress in cattle

Submitted By Rick Thomason

Being proactive is the best approach for dealing with heat stress in cattle. Having a solid management plan in place to address heat stress could pay big dividends in the form of maintained animal performance during periods of heat and in avoiding death losses in severe cases. Here are 3 steps you can take to help deal with heat stress in cattle.

Step one: Identify animals that are most susceptible to heat stress.
•Animals that are overweight have the least amount of lung capacity relative to body weight.
• Animals that are very young and very old also are at increased risk. They do not have the physiologic reserves to withstand prolonged periods of heat.
•Animals with dark hides are at a higher risk of suffering heat stress. Deaths of black-hided cattle on pasture without shade and limited supplies of water have been recorded. Research has shown that in cattle that were genetically closely related but had different hide colors, cattle with dark hides had a 2 F higher core body temperature than their cohorts with lighter-colored hide.

Step two: Develop an action plan for heat stress. The action plan is the essential actions you will take to protect the animals most susceptible to heat stress. The action plan
should include the following:
•Animals in heat stress need to drink water, so have plenty of it readily available. Cattle consume more water on hot days.
•Provide shade. Providing shade stops solar radiation from increasing body temperature. Cattle will congregate naturally under available shade.
•Air movement is an additional factor that promotes animal cooling. A breeze or wind moving over the hide of cattle promotes evaporative cooling.
•Control flies as much as possible because hot cattle tend to bunch together and flies only will add to the stress of
hot days.
•And maybe the most important, do not work cattle during temperature extremes. If working cattle is absolutely necessary, keep working time as short as possible, use calm animal-handling techniques to minimize stress related to handling, and consider running smaller groups through the facility or into holding pens. Provide sufficient water in holding pens. Get started as early in the morning as daylight will allow. Do not work in the evening after a heat-stress day; cattle need this time to recover. Reconsider the necessity of working cattle during these periods; some working events need to be postponed or canceled.

Step three: Know when to intervene.
•Heat stress is driven by a combination of factors. Temperature and humidity are two of the most frequently cited issues. A Livestock Weather Hazard Guide can be found at:
•Understanding that heat stress in cattle is cumulative is important. If the evening temperatures do not cool low enough, cattle cannot fully recover physiologically before the next onset of heat. Cattle are at danger of death from heat exposure when the following occur:
•The heat index is 75 or greater for a 72 hour period
•The heat index during a 48 hour period is no lower than 79 during the day and no lower than 75 during the night
•The daytime heat index reaches 84 or higher for two consecutive days

Heat in summertime is not avoidable. However, you can take preventive measures before temperatures reach dangerous levels to minimize impacts of heat stress on cattle.

*Source: Dr. C.R. Dahlen, Beef Cattle Specialist & Dr. C.L. Stoltenow, Veterinarian; North Dakota State University

Managing cool season lawns

By Rick Thomason

As we transition out of the spring and into summer, cool-season lawns in Johnson County need extra care. Cool-season lawns don’t like hot, humid weather. It becomes apparent when the days and nights start to heat up. Lawns can suffer if rain becomes scarce unless you have an irrigation system. This could be a possibility down the road.

Proper mowing is the best action you can take to help manage your lawn during the summer. Mow only when necessary instead of using a certain day of the week for your mowing day.Cool-season grasses slow their growth during hot summer days, so they may not need mowing every week unless we keep getting lots of rain.

Maintaining your mowing height between 3 to 3½ inches will help the lawn grasses recover much quicker and continue growing well during the hot summer days. Never cut off more than a third of the height of the lawn at one time. This means that you should time your mowing when the grass gets 4 to 5 inches tall and mow down to the height of 3 to 3½ inches. Regular mowing will help prevent the need for bagging the clippings. When the grass is cut regularly, clippings can be left on the lawn where they will decompose in a couple of days.

Never fertilize cool-season lawns in the summer. High levels of nitrogen can damage and kill these grasses during hot weather. Nitrogen in combination with hot temperatures encourages brown patches, a common fungal disease of cool-season grasses.

Try to avoid watering the lawn in the summer. The lawn can endure some dry weather, and sprinklers encourage the lawn to become dependent on frequent watering. If you start watering your lawn in the summer, you will need to keep doing this regularly or risk the loss of some of your lawn grasses dying. Frequent watering causes shallow root growth and makes the lawn grasses less drought tolerant.

By following these few simple practices in managing your lawn this summer, you should be able to enjoy a green and vibrant lawn this fall. Well maintained lawns and landscapes not only add to the aesthetics but also to the value of your home.

For more information on lawn maintenance, check out our UT Extension publication on “Fertilization and Management of Home Lawns” at

Art in the Garden event coming June 29

Staff Report

Whether you are looking for inspiration for your own gardening ventures or simply have an appreciation for beautiful landscapes, art and music, you need to make plans to be in Mountain City for Art in the Garden on Saturday, June 29.
Beginning at the Johnson County Center for the Arts at 127 College Street, the tour kicks off at 9 a.m. Tour goers may travel at their own pace to explore the exquisite gardens of Caroline and Wiley Roark, Brenda Church and Evelyn Cook, which are included among the Morning Gardens.
Lunch follows the morning tour at Silver Keys Bed and Breakfast in Doe from 12 p.m. – 1 p.m. and is included with the purchase of the $20 Art in the Garden ticket.
During the lunch hour a contest for the wildest gardening hat or bonnet will be held as well as the drawings for some amazing prizes.
From 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. the Afternoon Gardens are all in the Circle Drive area and include the stunning grounds of Richard and Judy Walsh, Nancy Garrick, Sharon Cretsinger and Nancy and Gary Lewis.
“This special day will be a treat for all the senses and is a wonderful way to spend the day in Johnson County while helping support the Art Center,” said Nancy Garrick, event organizer. “We hope to make it an annual event.”
Proceeds from this event will go toward the Johnson County Center for the Arts’ building purchase. Advance tickets are available at The Johnson County Center for the Arts, Shay Brey, The Johnson County Welcome Center and House of Flowers.
Tickets may also be purchased on the day of the tour at the Johnson County Center for the Arts, which will open at 8:30 a.m. The rain date is the following Saturday on July 6.
For more information call, 423-460-3313 or 423-727-7988.Contact: Nancy Garrick 423-727-7988

BLUEBERRIES: Attractive Bushes, Nutritious Berries

By Max Phelps

Blueberries vary in size with a few berries the size of quarters, but many bearing fruits the size of large garden peas, and wild ones out in the mountains often being no bigger than a Q-tip. The berries vary in color, from sky blue to a deep navy or marine blue. And the taste from sweet and very mild, to a bit sour and more flavorful.
The bushes vary from short to around 12 feet tall. There is lowbush, northern and southern highbush, and rabbiteye blueberries. The rabbiteye do wonderful where temperatures stay above zero in winter, but not south of where it gets into the lower 20’s in winter. Southern highbush varieties are being continually experimented with, so let’s just say, some can be grown into most parts of Florida except the Keys. Northern highbush are preferred for zones 5 and 6 in the Eastern U.S. There are more than 50 commercially available cultivars of northern highbush blueberries. Then, for the more northern reaches of the country, there are the lowbush blueberries and also huckleberries. These can often tolerate 30 or 40 below zero. Quite a few hybrids have been developed in Minnesota and Michigan and Maine where the highbush and lowbush are crossed for a hardy plant with good size and nice berries. Those make suitable plants for containers and small spaces even in Kentucky and nearby states.
What is needed for successful growing of blueberries at your place? 1) Sunshine—plants grow fine in part shade but for largest crops plant in full sun. 2) Water—blueberries need good drainage, but not drought conditions. This often means some watering to get plants established, and in future years for best crops. 3) Acidic soil—blueberries prefer 4.5 to 5.5 pH, which is very acidic soils (the opposite of limestone soils or high sodium soils of dessert areas). Improving the soil with peat moss and sulfur or aluminum sulphate and bloodmeal are suggestions…along with deep tillage before planting. (No lime or wood ashes.)
Also; 4) Pruning—light pruning early, but all limbs over 6 years old removed. Blueberries make clumps with many limbs; some thinning of old limbs is very useful to large crops and long bush life. And, 5) Mulch and Fertilizer—About three inches of wood chips or straw or other mulch, and some very light applications of fertilizer will be needed for best results. (Do keep mulch from being piled up against the trunks of the bushes, but the cooling of the soil and moisture retention of mulch out in the drip zone will be very helpful.
Some blueberries are self fruitful, but most varieties need cross pollination from another variety that blooms at a similar time. So figure on planting two or more different varieties. When landscaping, keep in mind shorter plants in front, larger plants in back, or use repetition such as 5 plants that turn yellow in the fall, one that turns red, five more that turn yellow, or whatever scheme you decide on. You’ll need to research the characteristics of the various cultivars to come up with the best of all worlds when it comes to selecting and properly planting your blueberry bushes for the nicest look.
Late blooming means higher odds of escaping spring frosts. The southern highbush varieties will do OK farther north, but with the caveat that they may bloom out too early and get frostbitten.. I have found the Sunshine Blue to work in Kentucky same as in North Florida—a dependable variety, tolerant of multiple conditions, but with below average quantity of berries.
Mature blueberry bushes can produce from around 6 pints of fruit to upwards of 20 per year. Reka, Briggita and Elliott are among the heaviest bearers…but sometimes the heavy set of fruit means smaller berries even though the total harvest will be large. Chandler bears the largest berries, some over the size of quarters. Spartan, Dixie, Blueray and Darrow are additional varieties with exceptional sized berries.
Blueberry plantings should bear the second or third year and begin to have a full crop by year six.
Recent study of the blueberry suggests additional benefits of reducing cholesterol, reducing urinary tract infections, and even slowing aging. While I can’t vouch for all the studies and claims, I do know blueberry plants can look nice in the landscape and are a real sweet treat fresh off the bush in your own yard. I suggest you plant a couple of these at the first opportunity, and if you are a big blueberry fan, then I recommend starting with a dozen or so. Plant anytime, but especially in fall, from containers. Plant in late winter or in the springtime if the plants are shipped bare-root to you. Don’t be afraid to try growing blueberries, they aren’t as difficult as some people will tell you they are. If you can grow azaleas, you probably can grow blueberries. Try some soon.

NEW Transportation permit available to Tennessee horse owners

Press Release

NASHVILLE — Tennessee horse owners now have a new resource to protect the health of their livestock. The Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA) is offering the Extended Equine Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (EECVI), which provides real-time tracking and better disease traceability for horses
being transported across state lines.
“As we work to keep Tennessee horses safe and healthy, it is important that we are aware of the equines entering and exiting our state,” Interim State Veterinarian Doug Balthaser, D.V.M. said. “The EECVI will be available to owners 24 hours a day and will be accepted in more states than our current permit. Additionally, if the worst happens and there is a disease outbreak, real-time tracking will enable state animal health officials to notify horse owners much more quickly.”
In order to transport a horse, mule, donkey, pony, zebra, or other equine across state lines, a certificate of veterinary inspection (CVI) and negative test for Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) is required. The CVI shows that a veterinarian has inspected each equine for signs of disease to ensure that it appears healthy for movement.
The EECVI extends the CVI date of expiration from 30 days to 6 months, and it eases travel to multiple states with different requirements. The EECVI offers travel itineraries in a digital format that horse owners complete and upload to the online system prior to the time of transport.
The current movement permit offered, the Tennessee Equine Interstate Event Permit (Equine Passport), will no longer be available through TDA starting June 30, 2019. TDA partnered with other states more than a decade ago to provide the Equine Passport program. However, all of the original partner states have decided to stop using the Equine Passport program and to transition to EECVI.
For more information about the Extended Equine Certificate of Veterinary Inspection, contact the State Veterinarian’s office at (615) 837-5120 or visit

Farm Fresh Appalachia Holds 2nd Annual Farm Tours

Staff Report

Farm Fresh Appalachia – a partnership between Appalachian Resource Conservation & Development and Appalachian Sustainable Development, funded via a USDA Farmers Market Promotion Program grant – has announced the 2nd
annual Farm Fresh Appalachia Tours, which will
span two states and two seasons.
The farm tours are slated for late spring in Northeast Tennessee and mid-fall in Southwest Virginia. By hosting two tours this year, Farm Fresh Appalachia hopes that “farm tourists” will be able to experience a wider variety of farm goods while taking in mountain and farmland vistas in their gorgeous spring and fall color palettes.
The Tennessee Tour is set for Saturday, June 22, with 15 farms participating. The Virginia Tour is set for Saturday, October 5.
Farms are still being lined up; the list of farms will be finalized and publicized later this summer.
A single-tour car pass is $20, and a double-tour car pass is $35. Both single and double car passes are on sale now via the Appalachian RC&D’s website. Full details including the farm list and descriptions can be viewed on the event information page, here.
Each farm has the opportunity to provide guided or self-guided tours, demonstrations, hands-on experiences, animal encounters, and many will have goods for sale. Since there are an abundance of farms participating, Farm Tourists choose their schedule for the day and how many farms they wish to visit. All farm experiences are family friendly and appropriate for all ages.
On the Tennessee tour, lunch or dinner will be provided at no additional cost for all Farm Tourists. Serenity Knoll, a working farm that offers cooking classes, catering, and hosts events like yoga and dance, will be open earlier and later than all the other farms and will provide a farm-fresh lunch and dinner. In the interest of maximizing time for touring farms, guests who begin
the tour in Washington County are encouraged to have lunch at Serenity Knoll, while
Guests who start their tour in Greene County are encouraged to end the day at Serenity Knoll with dinner. Either lunch or dinner is included with the purchase of every car pass for all who ride together.
The regional Farm Fresh Appalachia Farm Tours are held through a partnership between Appalachian RC&D Council, Appalachian Sustainable Development, the Northeast Tennessee Tourism Association, and Jonesborough Locally Grown. The event and related promotion are funded by a Farmers Market Promotion Program grant from the United States Department of Agriculture. Because of this grant, Appalachian RC&D Council and the Farm Fresh Appalachia partnership can fund the annual farm tours, produce marketing materials for every market in our region, hold training for farmer’s market managers, and more.
If you would like to learn more about Appalachian RC&D, farm tours, the Farmers Market Promotion Program, or additional ARC&D programming, please visit To volunteer as a Farm Docent or learn more, please contact Rachel Wheeler,

Sustaining Agriculture


By Sarah Ransom

Johnson County is known to be a rural, agricultural county. Throughout the years, we have produced many large quantities of beans, tobacco, and beef. Agricultural farming often impacts our natural resources and the environment. So, using sustainable practices helps farmers and producers to protect the environment, expand natural resources, and maintain and improve soil fertility.
When using these practices, farmers can increase farm income, enhance the quality of life for farm families and community, and increase production for human food needs.
According to NIFA, 90 percent of our farms in the United States are classified as small farms; these are family-owned and operated.
The National Institute of Food and Agriculture seeks to stimulate innovation with sustainable farming by engaging farmers and producers in development and adoption of practices that are profitable and environmentally sound, support ongoing research and education to adapt to various changing climates. The institute also seeks to improve production efficiency, productivity, and profitability, address threats from pests and diseases and improve the quality of surface water and other natural resources (USDA & NIFA).
The main goal of sustainable agriculture is to meet societal needs without compromising the ability of future generations to continue to meet their needs.
There are many various practices, both conventional and organic options. Some of these include rotational grazing, rotating crops, planting proper cover crops, reducing tillage, adopting agroforestry practices, and more. From the growers, food processors, distributors, retailers, consumers, and waste managers –all play a role in ensuring the sustainability of farms. It starts with using state-of-the-art, science-based practices that help maximize productivity and profit while minimizing environmental damages.
Sources – Sustainable Agriculture – and What is Sustainable Agriculture at

A very unusual hay year in Johnson County


By Rick Thomason

UT/TSU-Johnson County Extension Director

It was so good seeing lots of hay harvested during the last two weeks of May this year. In the 40 plus years, I’ve been living and working in Johnson County, I’ve never seen haymaking weather as good in the month of May as it was this year.
In Hamblen County, where I grew up, we always started putting up our hay in May. However, in the mountains, the weather usually doesn’t cooperate with us enough to put up hay this early. It is either not hot enough to cure the hay, which means that you have to leave it mowed down in the field for a longer period or it rains every other day which increases the risk for getting the hay damaged.
This year, however, we had two good weeks of hot, dry weather for farmers to get in their hay fields early. I sure hope that you took advantage of this time to put up some of your hay crops. Your livestock will undoubtedly appreciate it this winter when you start feeding them this hay.
Now, why is this so important to get the hay up this early? The stage of growth greatly influences hay quality.
When grasses are in what we call their vegetative or leafy state that is when they are the most nutritious for feeding livestock. Once the grasses start into their reproductive stage (making seed heads), the quality of the hay drops significantly.
Most years in Johnson County due to our weather, the hay crop gets overripe before our farmers have a chance to get it harvested. This makes for some poor quality hay to feed the livestock in the winter. The hay has large sturdy stems and is not very nutritious, which means that the farmers have to supplement it with some grain.
Another good reason to get the hay up early is that with our short growing season in the mountains, this will allow for more re-growth this summer to use for a second cutting of hay this fall. If you were one of the ones who got up some of your hay crops during the last two weeks of May, I would highly encourage you to get the bales out of the field as soon as possible so that it won’t hinder the re-growth of the grasses in your hay field. I don’t like to see rolls of hay left sitting in the fields for weeks and even months in the summer.
It is recommended that you store your hay inside if at all possible to preserve the quality of your hay. Just make sure the hay is dry before storing it in the barn. High moisture will cause the bales to heat up, which increases the chance of barn fires.
If it is necessary to store some hay outdoors, try to keep it off the ground using pallets or large stones and covered with a tarp if possible. Do not store hay in fencerows, under trees or in the shade of buildings as this increases spoilage of your hay. Arrange your hay rolls with the ends facing north to south and if the bales are going to be left uncovered, leave some space between your hay rolls to allow for more air movement. Hay rolls stored outside uncovered will have losses of about 1/3, so feed these to your livestock first this winter.

June is National Dairy Month

Tennessee has approximately 205 dairy farms and Dairy cows in the state to produce nearly 73.7 million gallons of milk per year. Photo by Bill Ward.

By Leigh Anne Shull
Farm Bureau Women

The Johnson County Farm Bureau Women would like to encourage the support and recognition of June Dairy Month.
June Dairy Month began in 1937 as “National Milk Month” to encourage drinking milk.
Today, the state of Tennessee has approximately 205 dairy farms according to the Dairy Alliance of Tennessee.
The top five milk-producing counties in Tennessee include Bedford, Bradley, Loudon, McMinn and Monroe.
Dairy cows in Tennessee provide an average of 1,992 gallons of milk per year, in which the total amount of milk produced within the state is 73.7 million gallons. In the year 2018, 98 percent of all milk produced in Tennessee was used and consumed in the form of fluid milk.
There are many beneficial reasons to support the dairy industry which include: Milk is produced in every state and is the perfect example of a fresh, farm-to- table product. It is also nutritious.
Milk, cheese and other dairy foods are simple, easy ways to get the energy and nutrients that your family needs.
The next time one puts milk on cereal, put cheese on pizza, or eat a cup of yogurt or ice cream, it might be a good idea to think about the dairy farmers who make it possible for all to enjoy these delicious products throughout the year.
Anyone interested in becoming involved in the Farm Bureau Women of Johnson County may email for more information.

Yards to Paradise — Why put trees in yards?

By Max Phelps

Many newly constructed homes look like plastic houses from a Monopoly game—all alike, and all rowed up along the street. (If a large healthy native tree or two could have been left, that would have helped immensely.)
These homes, along with fresh concrete drives, walks or patios, and fresh unpainted decks of treated pine, almost have the appearance of a skeleton with naked bones. It’s little wonder most cities now require a few shrubs or trees be planted. (Unfortunately, most designers or builders are only interested in meeting the technicalities, not in pretty landscaping, so good intentions have not translated into eliminating the Monopoly house look hardly at all. Two maple trees and six shrubs does not a good landscape make!)
Why put trees in yards? And why are two red maples or two callery pears not good landscaping? Some folks just want to get out of where they are and into a new home, and I get that. But, with time, there is the need to make the yard look more natural, like it probably did before the land was cleared and the bulldozers flattened the hills (and the topsoil was scooped up and sold). Most homeowners eventually want to apply their personality, or that of their spouse, to the yard and dress it to compliment the house.
This is really when the trees should be planted; this is where planting trees can be justified. When the owners are ready to make the place look more like an individualized paradise rather than a cookie cutter house.
Trees play many useful roles in the landscape. They can frame the house to show it off better, or they can be planted to hide the house from the street. Moderating the temperature with shade, moderating the wind with a windbreak, creating privacy, screening eyesores, attracting wildlife, producing fruit or nuts, are some of the ways trees can be used to meet our needs as homeowners. Then, there is also simply personal preference or likes.
Well placed and carefully chosen trees can add greatly to the looks and comforts of a home. Be sure to select a tree or two that will age to perfection; most fast-growing trees become problems in 20 or 30 years. Try mixing up the trees, for diversity is good for many reasons.
Specimen trees can add much to a yard’s looks. But, “specimen” by definition, isn’t “several”. Rather, it’s one tree that is outstanding. (Any nurseryman that tries to sell you on several specimen trees at one time is thinking of his next vacation more than how your yard will benefit!)
Shade trees are what the name says; they provide shade. Any large tree can be a ‘shade’ tree. Even evergreen trees—although they typically are recommended for the north or west side of the house.
What are some good shade trees? Well, it depends on where you live. Trees that are planted for shade in Ohio are not the same as those planted in Florida. In in my area, oaks, maples, sweet or black gum, tulip poplar, and the ubiquitous Bradford pear are used extensively. Sycamore, linden, elms, catalpa, buckeye, walnut, hickory, ash (until the borer problem), cypress, willow and zelkova are sometimes chosen. Southern magnolias, America hollies, pines, firs and spruces are evergreen options.
Breaking the wind from hitting your house full strength is best done with shrubbery, trees in the middle, then more shrubbery…a multi-layered planting. True windbreaks are planted some distance from the house…certainly not close enough that they would blow down and damage the home.
Screening either things we don’t want to look at, or to keep others from looking in on us, this is what we mean by planting trees for screening purposes. There are so many possibilities, so I’ll not try to list them. Both big trees, small trees, or shrubbery can be employed in screening. Even large clumps of grass or lawn ornaments or outdoor structures can serve in this function.
Greenery is good at muffling noises. Planting a row of trees or a hedge between you and traffic, the neighbor’s parties, or even between a cozy spot and your own home, can help with enjoying your place. Plus, the greenery cleans air pollution. (Well, some trees contribute pollen which is called pollution at times I suppose. Female trees would be best in that regard, but most people select males because of no nuts or seeds and make pollen problems worse.)
Shrubs (shrubby little trees, really) are useful where something tall isn’t required. Hiding the trash cans, doghouse, or gas tank come to mind. And, in a large lovely layered landscape, tall, medium and short plants create the most luxurious look.
Wildlife prefers less lawn and more trees. For food, shelter, nesting, hiding, and various other reasons.
Trees make our homes prettier, and our neighbors nicer. Another good reason to plant trees.
Spending a few hundred dollars on trees to make your two hundred thousand dollar home look better is a no-brainer! Even the tiny cottage benefits from good greenery around it.
Hiring professional help can get it done speedily and correctly, but if economics is a factor, small trees from a nursery or even those from a mail order house that come in a big box can work out fine. And our grandparents simply went to the woods or roadside and dug up something and took it home and planted it in their yard.
Fleshing out the seleton of your place with trees and shrubs should be a fun adventure. Think of it as putting clothes on a naked body, and it will take on more appleal
if you’re having trouble getting excited about tree

Invasive tick detected in Tennessee

The Asian longhorned tick has now spread to 11 states. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that there is no evidence that the tick has transmitted pathogens to humans or animals in the U.S. Submitted photo

Press Release

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Agriculture, United States Department of Agriculture – Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services, Tennessee Department of Health, and University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture (UTIA) today announced the detection of the invasive Asian longhorned tick in Tennessee.
The Asian longhorned tick has now spread to 11 states. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that there is no evidence that the tick has transmitted pathogens to humans or animals in the U.S.
Two Asian longhorned ticks were recently found on a dog in Union County, and five were found on a cow in Roane County. In the U.S., the tick has been reported on 17 different mammal species.
“Tennessee has a relatively large amount and variety of ticks,” Dr. R.T. Trout Fryxell, Associate Professor of Medical and Veterinary Entomology for UTIA, said. “It is important to be diligent and keep an eye out for all ticks because many varieties can transmit pathogens or cause painful bites.”

Tips to prevent tick
bites in animals and
livestock include:

•Coordinate with your veterinarian to determine appropriate pest prevention for pets and livestock.

•Check pets and livestock for ticks frequently.

•Remove any ticks by pulling from the attachment site of the tick bite with tweezers.

•Monitor your pets and livestock for any changes in health.

If your animals are bitten by a tick, Dr. Trout Fryxell suggests putting the tick in a ziplock bag, writing down the date and where the tick was most likely encountered, and storing it in a freezer. If any symptoms of a tick-borne disease begin to develop, you should bring the tick to your veterinarian.
For additional information about the longhorned tick in the United States, visit To find more information on tick-borne diseases, visit

New rules for Tennessee’s Hemp Program

Farmers in Tennessee have been growing and researching Hemp since the pilot program began in 2015. Submitted photo

Press Release

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA) is announcing rule changes for the state’s hemp program to better serve hemp producers.
“Farmers have been growing and researching this crop in Tennessee since the program began in 2015 as a pilot program,” Agriculture Commissioner Charlie Hatcher, D.V.M. said. “The hemp industry and federal laws have changed in recent years, and we’re updating our program rules to be more consistent with how other crop programs are managed.”
The application period for a license to grow hemp is now open year-round. Grower applications can be found online at Licenses will expire June 30 of each year, and all grower licenses issued in 2019 will expire June, 2020.

Other program
changes include:

•Hemp processors will no longer be required to register through TDA.

•The hemp program will no longer issue licenses for certified seed breeders. However, anyone manufacturing, distributing, or labeling seed should be licensed through TDA’s Ag Inputs section.

•Growers will still need movement permits when transporting rooted plants and are now required to be permitted when moving harvested hemp from their growing site.

TDA has licensed more than 2,900 hemp growers in 2019. In 2018, TDA approved 226 hemp producer applications.
Federal and state laws require Tennessee hemp growers be licensed through TDA’s hemp program. While the 2018 Farm Bill removes hemp from the list of federally controlled substances, it remains illegal to grow hemp without a license through an approved state program.
The Tennessee General Assembly enacted Public Chapter 916 in 2014, tasking the department with development of a licensing and inspection program for the production of hemp in Tennessee. You will find more information about Tennessee’s hemp program at

Farmers Markets Create Communities Within Communities

Staff Report
CNASHVILLE — Tennessee’s farmers markets are providing more than just a place to find fresh food. They are furnishing an environment that allows the community to flourish. This year, many farmers markets are hosting special events for families and communities to enjoy, while fostering personal connections to those who produce nutritious food across the state.
The Van Buren County Farmers Market is celebrating the week of Independence Day with additional market days and fireworks the evening of July 3. “Right now it’s not quite time for produce in this area, but we are looking forward to
ramping up business during the upcoming harvests,” Van Buren County Farmers Market manager and County Mayor Greg Wilson said.
For 2019, the Henderson Farmers Market plans to have special Friday events, including a kid’s day, a community health day
sponsored by local health companies, a Tennessee Beef Month celebration, and
more.“The Henderson Farmers Market is all about community, and this community has patiently waited for a farmers market for years,” Chester County extension agent and market manager Steve Rickman said. “Our customers come out to
shop and to socialize with their friends. Every Friday is truly a special event in this community. “
The Pikeville Farmers Market in Bledsoe County has grown from hosting 15 vendors to 50 in the last 3 years. The market now has a meat vendor offering
beef, lamb, and pork and
will have live music, cooking demonstrations, and food trucks. “It’s a big deal to have this market,” Pikeville Farmers Market manager Melissa Mooneyham said. “To see what it’s done for our community is something I’m really proud of.”
The Tennessee’s farmers markets directory can be accessed at and via the Pick TN mobile app.
Follow Pick Tennessee on Facebook, Twitter, and
Instagram for seasonal
updates and information about farm related
events, activities, and products.

JCFM “Fresh Program” returns

By Sarah Ransom

The pantry is empty, and the refrigerator is bare. You know what time it is . . . time to shop for groceries. You can get groceries at any shopping center, but there is a great way to support your local farmers and get the freshest produce (as well as some other delicious treats).
To help you make the most of the farmers’ market shopping experience, here are some suggestions:
1. Arrive early, but not too early. For the best selection, be sure to arrive early to the farmers’ market. However, do not arrive too early. Many farmers’ markets have strict start times. Vendors may not be able to sell to you before the market officially opens.
2. Bring a bag. It is a good plan to bring a bag or basket with you to the market. Unlike a grocery store, many vendors do not provide bags for your items.
3. Have fun! Farmers’ markets are social, festive events. Take time to talk with your fellow shoppers and the vendors selling your food. Who knows? You may learn a new way to prepare your favorite fruit or vegetable.
4. Bring a cooler preferably one with wheels. Using a cooler helps protect your perishable items (cheeses, meats, dairy products) while you shop. In addition, a cooler will help you get these items home safely.
5. Talk to the vendors. Unlike the grocery store, farmers’ markets allow you the opportunity to talk – in most cases – to the person who grew the food you are purchasing. Use this opportunity to your advantage and ask away.
6. Be prepared for choices – lots of them. At the farmers’ market, you may find more than one variety of the fruits or vegetables you are needing. Deciding on all these choices can be overwhelming. To help, talk with the vendors and the other shoppers. Both can help you make a selection that best meets your food needs.
7. Ask questions. Don’t assume that all the foods at your farmers’ market are organic, grown in your community, or even grown by the vendor selling them. Markets have very different rules governing the types of items that can be sold. Asking the vendor is the best way to find out the information you need.
8. Seek out the information booth. Almost all markets have an information booth where you can ask questions about the market.
So, grab your favorite shopping bag and head out the door – it’s a great way to support your local farmers and enjoy consuming agricultural products from your neighborhood.

Local teen named Johnson County 4-H June Dairy Month Chairman

By Tamas Mondovics


Johnson County High School sophomore, Cindy Jones has been named the 2019 June Dairy Month Chairman for Johnson County.
According to a recent release by the Dairy Alliance, a non-profit organization that works with schools, health professionals, retailers, dairy processors, and the public to promote dairy foods, Jones will be honored on Thursday, May 30, 2019, at the Tennessee June Dairy Month Kickoff Event at Battle Mountain Farm in College Grove.
American Dairy Association of Tennessee president, Celeste Blackburn, will recognize Jones during the event.
Deemed initially “National Milk Month” by American grocers in 1937, National Dairy Month began to promote dairy consumption during peak milk production in the summer. Today, it continues celebrating with the Southeast’s communities and companies through festivals, contests and even a special night dedicated to dairy farmers at the ballpark.
In 2018, an estimated 37,000 Tennessee dairy cows were living on 205 dairy farms producing 73.7 million gallons, or approximately 634 million pounds, of milk.
The official kickoff celebration recognizes Tennessee 4-H member’s efforts to promote June Dairy Month in Tennessee and is co-sponsored by The Dairy Alliance, 4-H, and the Tennessee Farm Bureau.
Officials said that June Dairy Month activities are designed to communicate the value of milk and other dairy products to Tennessee consumers. Chairpersons play a vital role in spreading the dairy’s message in their communities.
“I enjoy getting to do activities with my community in the summer sponsoring June Dairy Month,” Jones said. “Being June Dairy Month Chairman means getting to hold a position further than only sponsoring it.
Chairman would mean making a difference in our county and making sure people know how important dairy is.”
Jones, the daughter of Judy and Kevin Cretsinger and is a member of Shady Valley Church of Christ and her school’s HOSA club and Student Council.
Cindy is an active member of her 4-H chapter, participating in health and fitness, nutrition, and citizenship projects. She also competes in county speech and demonstration contests, raises chickens through Chick Chain and participates in June Dairy Month events.
“We wish Cindy much success in her role of communicating the nutritional benefits of milk and dairy products to the people in Johnson County,” said Blackburn. “Cindy will appreciate the cooperation of the people there.
Her interest and enthusiasm will result in a better-informed community from which all will benefit.”
The top five milk producing Tennessee counties were: Loudon, Monroe, Bradley, Bedford, and McMinn.
This year’s theme, “Dairy is in Our DNA,” encourages families to make milk their first beverage choice due to its unique package of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that are an essential part of a healthy diet.
With local media and farm bureaus, dairy farmers will be working alongside The Dairy Alliance to engage consumers through social media, radio contests, T-shirt giveaways, events, and more.
For more information on how you can celebrate June Dairy Month, please visit us online at

Farmers Market Fresh program is coming back!

Submitted by
Sarah Ransom

We all know the farmers’ market is an excellent place for picking up fresh fruits and vegetables. This summer, in addition to picking up some home grown tomatoes, you can pick up some research-based knowledge as well. The University of Tennessee/Tennessee State University Extension in Johnson County will be at the market offering food samples, as well as selection and storage suggestions for the flavorful fruit and vegetables available at the market. This program is called Farmer’s Market Fresh. The market consumers have enjoyed the delicious treats, free information and prize giveaways in the past years. We are excited to be offering this program in the next few weeks.
According to Dr. Christopher Sneed with UT Extension, the primary objective of the Farmers’ Market Fresh program is to encourage purchasing of fresh fruits and vegetables at the farmers’ markets. “We are particularly interested in helping limited-resource families, especially those receiving EBT/ SNAP have access to fresh fruits and vegetables at the farmers’ market. We hope our presence at the market along with the food demonstrations, tastings, and activities will encourage people to check out all the market has to offer,” states Sneed.
Throughout the summer, members of the local Extension office will have a booth at the market where they will be offering food demonstrations, recipes, and research-based advice on the best ways to select and store some of our favorite summertime items. The best part of the program – each person who stops by the booth will receive a recipe card for the food being demonstrated that day. At the end of the season, consumers could have an entire collection of recipes all featuring items fresh from the farmers’ market. Recipes to be featured include: summer squash salad, corn salad, fruit and nut slaw, tomato and cucumber sandwiches, peanut butter yogurt dip, quick picked beats and a berry spinach salad that will make you want seconds! “We intentionally picked recipes that would be easy to prepare,” states Dr. Janie Burney of UT Extension. “Summer in Tennessee can be hot. So, we selected recipes that did not involve using the stove or oven. We wanted foods that were cool, refreshing, and delicious.” And, it just so happens they are all really good for you as well.
Grown-ups are not the only ones who will enjoy a stop by the Farmers’ Market Fresh booth. The young ones are sure to enjoy a sample of the food prepared. In addition, they will be able to participate in a weekly children’s challenge. Through the challenge, they are able to earn prizes for the fruits and vegetables their families purchase, prepare, and taste at home. There is even some buzz that a special visitor – Rudy the Raccoon – may make an appearance at the market. To participate, all you need to do is stop by the Farmers’ Market Fresh booth for all the details.
“We are very happy and excited to be part of this program,” states FCS Agent, Sarah Ransom of UT Extension Johnson County, “Partnering with the farmers’ market is just a natural fit for our office given our focus on food preservation, cooking skills, and healthy eating. We can’t wait to get started! We can’t wait to see you there!”
For more information about the Farmers’ Market Fresh program including the exact dates and times the Extension office will be at the market, call the local UT/TSU Extension Johnson County office at 727-8161.
This material was funded by USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – SNAP.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides nutrition assistance to people with low income. It can help you buy nutritious foods for a better diet. To find out more, contact your local Department of Human Services Office or call 1-866-311-4287 (toll-free). In cooperation with Tennessee State University Cooperative Extension. The USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. Programs in agriculture and natural resources, 4-H youth development, family and consumer sciences, and resource development. University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture and county governments cooperating. UT Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment.


Staff Report

Despite the wet start to spring, sweet and juicy strawberries are prime for picking in most areas of Tennessee. If you are looking for the freshest berries, you need to go straight to the farm.
“We are seeing more ripe strawberries by the day.” Mitchell Hyde of Hyde Farms in Loudon County said. “The more sunshine, the more berries we will have ready to pick!”
One West Tennessee farmer has already started a reservation list for people who want to pick their own. “We are picking heavily this week—lots of strawberries are ripe and ready,” Timothy Brady of Dixie Chile Ranch in Obion County said. “All you have to do is let us know how many 5 quart buckets you intend to pick and we’ll let you know what times are available.”
In Middle Tennessee, berries are selling fast. “We sold 65 gallons of strawberries within the first hour of opening,” Jon Kelley of Kelley’s berries in Trousdale County said. “The first week in May is generally the best time to visit the strawberry patch. However, we will have ripe strawberries well into June.”
Never picked fresh strawberries before? To learn more about the picking process for the farm you are going to visit, all you have to do is call and ask. Farmers also suggest calling ahead of time to ensure that berries are available. If you want fresh strawberries without the work, many farms provide the option for customers to purchase already-picked strawberries.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the number of Tennessee strawberry farms has increased by almost 4% during the last five years.
The traditional season lasts about four to six weeks, depending on weather—so the best tasting strawberries you’ve ever had won’t last long.
Support your local economy and buy fresh strawberries from your local farmer today. Go to or use the free Pick Tennessee mobile app to find a farm near you.
To learn more about seasonal recipes, products, and activities.


Press Release

NASHVILLE – Are you a landowner looking to establish or enhance your woodland or a logger looking to improve your harvesting capacity? The Tennessee Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry (TDF) is offering cost share programs to assist forest landowners and industry with improving forest health and sustainability.
“More than half of Tennessee is covered in trees,” Agriculture Commissioner Charlie Hatcher, D.V.M. said. “We are working to promote and support agriculture in Tennessee, and our forest resources are a significant part of that. These cost share programs for forest establishment, improvement, and forest industry play a main role in our work to encourage landowners to implement forestry practices.”
Forestry programs under the Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program (TAEP) and Southern Pine Beetle Initiative (SPBI) were developed to promote long-term investments in Tennessee’s forests by providing cost share incentives to qualifying landowners.
The programs promote sustainable forest management practices on family forestland, which provide multiple resource benefits such as timber, wildlife habitat, clean water, and soil protection.
Forest landowners are eligible to receive a 50% – 75% cost share reimbursement for funds spent with a combined maximum reimbursement of $15,000 per year. The landowner cost share sign-up period begins May 1 and ends May 31.
TDF also offers TAEP and SPBI financial assistance for forest industry to help protect stream habitats and overall water quality by utilizing forestry Best Management Practices. Forest industry practitioners, such as loggers and sawmill owners, are eligible to receive a 50% cost share reimbursement for funds spent. The TAEP and SPBI programs each have a maximum reimbursement of $15,000 per year, allowing eligible recipients to receive up to $30,000. TAEP cost share for forest industry is available for sign-up year-round, while SPBI sign-up period is between May 1 to May 31.
Those interested in TDF forestry practices cost share programs should contact their local Area Forester to determine eligibility, implement a plan, and sign-up.
For Area Forester contacts and more information about cost share programs, visit

Seasonal Gardening – Management Structures

By Sarah Ransom

Gardeners can maintain their gardening environment to enable crops to grow for extended periods of time. With careful planning, crops can be extended a few days or weeks.

There are two main ways of doing this: management practices and structures or materials to alter temperatures. This week, we are going to focus on structures and materials.

Several methods for seasonal gardening may focus on absorbing or trapping the radiation from the sun to warm up the environment for your crops.

Dark mulches absorb light and conduct heat that warms the soil below; clear plastic covers transmit and trap light which increases the air temperature.

Agricultural plastics have made a lot of progress to improve seasonal planting. The biggest question is how much money to invest in materials and how much time goes into each structure and material used.

Passive systems, rely only on natural air movement and natural sunlight. These are the most flexible, most cost efficient and applicable for home gardeners.

Mulch can be used to influence soil temperature by absorbing the light and heat and then reflecting the light. Solid black and woven plastics also help warm the crops environment.

Mulch and plastics can also help reduce heat loss that comes from evaporated water or changing nightly temperatures.

Another structure that can be used is a floating row cover, also known as direct covers. These are plastic films, agricultural fabrics or buckets that can be laid or placed over a crop to hold heat. This type of structure is often secured by the soil, wooden posts or other materials.

These covers often need less irrigation, it depends on the type used, and how long they are placed, one benefit is they can reduce the speed of rainfall, which decreases erosion and crusting and can help protect against insects. Row covers are typically only used for temporary measures in the spring and fall.
Low tunnels are very similar to row covers and can be used to help extend the growing season. Low
tunnels give the appearance of a miniature greenhouse.
These need to be made sure they are appropriately vented to allow enough airflow, so crops do not get overheated.

Shade structures can help reduce the amount of heat in the crops environment, and this can allow for cool-season crops, such as leafy greens, to be grown longer in the spring.

If you are looking for a permanent fix on structures, you can build cold frames, high tunnels, and greenhouses.

All of these structures provide more control over your crop’s environment and can significantly alter the ability to extend your harvest season.

Regardless of how you choose to garden, there are many options for extending your fresh vegetable intake!

To check out additional information on seasonal gardening, read

Farmers Market to open at Ralph Stout Park Saturday

The Johnson County Farmers Market is open every Saturday from 9 AM to noon at Ralph Stout Park in Mountain City.

By Bethany Anderson

This Saturday the Johnson County Farmers Market moves back to it’s “Summer Season” home of Ralph Stout Park in Mountain City. During the “Winter Season” the market moves indoors at the Johnson County Welcome Center so that it can be a real, year-round market. It is a rarity in our area and much appreciated by both the farmers and other vendors who sell their good there as well as the shoppers who frequent the market looking for local goods.

During the Summer Season, the market expands quite noticeably to include many more vendors and fresh seasonal produce. The outdoor venue allows more space to spread out and the season allows for more options when it comes to the produce available.

“I can’t wait for the outdoor season to start!” says one JCFM shopper. “I love that the market is available year-round, but I really look forward to the outdoor season all year.”

When asked what they are most looking forward to this Summer Season, vendor Sharon Springer of Soul Shine Soaps replied, “Seeing everyone, old friends and making new ones.” Market shopper Denise deRibert said, “Friends, food, and flowers!”

This season the market will welcome many favorite vendors from years past as well as new vendors and options for shoppers to enjoy. Grace Hands Massage Therapy joined the market during their “Winter Season” and will continue with the market in the coming season. There will also be a return from semi-retirement from local woodworker Webb Griffith, who has become a market favorite over the many years he’s participated as a vendor.

Each week the market features live music with local musicians. This year there will also be a “Market Cafe” tent for people to sit and enjoy the food and coffee available for sale while they listen to music.

The GoJoCo Kids’ Tent will also be back this year thanks to the generous work by our local GoJoCo Council and the grants provided by their efforts. Just like in years past, there will be a weekly food-related project for kids to get some “hands-on” time learning about healthy eating habits, as well as a physical challenge to get them up and moving. For each time that children participate, they will earn tokens that can then be used to make purchases at the market, which is meant to encourage children to take what they have learned about healthy eating habits and use those skills in a real-life setting.

“My kids just love it,” said a local mother. “They get so excited to earn the tokens and make their own decisions on what to buy at the market.”

The Market’s mission statement includes the fact that their purpose is to “strengthen a sustainable, local agriculture and food economy.” In keeping with this, EBT (Food Stamps) and Credit Cards are accepted at the Market Manager’s Tent, which gives shoppers the flexibility that they are used to getting in other retail environments. The JCFM hopes that it will encourage shoppers to frequent the market in addition to local grocery stores.

The Johnson County Farmers Market will be at the park each Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon, through the end of October, then they will move back to their “Winter Market” home at the Welcome Center. The market is open to new vendors joining as well, as long as they follow the market’s guidelines of “Home-Made or Home-Grown” products.

For more information on the Johnson County Farmers Market, check their website at email them at or call the Market Manager at (423) 291-9145.