Johnson County FFA wins district contest

Johnson County FFA students pose for the camera after a succesfull tournament in Boone NC. Photo submitted.

By Tamas Mondovics

Members of the Johnson County FFA successfully competed in two contests at the Watauga District level held at Daniel Boone High School earlier this month.
According to JCHS Agriculture Teacher Tracy Dugger, Johnson County FFA placed first for the freshman Parliamentary Procedure event (Conduct of Chapter Meeting) and are looking forward to the next competition.
Team members include Bethany McFadden, Gracie Oxentine, Faith Dowell, Dalton Adams, Clayton Eckert, Destiny Lunceford, and Amy Gunter.
The upperclassmen Parliamentary Procedure team placed second.
Team members include Andrew Dugger, Brett Ward, Colton Long, Haeileigh Thompson, Omar Linares, Leeann Crosswhite, and Harlan Savory.
Each team moved forward and had the opportunity to compete in the Sub-Regional at West Greene High School this week.

2019 Muzzleloader season for deer set to open

NASHVILLE — The 2019 statewide muzzleloader/archery season for deer opens in Tennessee on Saturday, Nov. 9 and continues through Friday, Nov. 22 in all of Tennessee’s deer hunting units, according to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. The opening of muzzleloader season in the state has a permanent opening date of the third Saturday before Thanksgiving.
For Unit CWD only in addition to muzzleloader, gun season will open on Nov. 9. The newly-created Unit CWD in the southwestern portion of the state was established after the confirmation of chronic wasting disease (CWD) last December.
Muzzleloading firearms are defined as those firearms which are incapable of being loaded from the breech. Muzzleloading firearms of .36 caliber minimum, plus long bows, compound bows and crossbows are legal hunting equipment for this season. Hunters are also reminded that they must meet the blaze orange requirements while hunting.
The statewide bag limit for antlered bucks is two. No more than one antlered deer may be taken per day. Hunters are allowed the following antlerless bag limits: Unit L-3 per day, Unit A and B-2 total, and Unit C and D-1 total.
In Unit CWD, muzzleloader/archery season began Oct. 28. In Unit CWD, there is a limit of three antlerless deer per day with no season limit and the statewide bag limit of two antlered deer.
For the exact boundaries of the different deer units, hunters can refer to the 2019-20 Tennessee Hunting and Trapping Guide, available where hunting and fishing licenses are sold and at all TWRA offices. Resident hunters, ages 16 through 64 must possess in addition to other appropriate licenses, an annual big game license for the equipment used. Lifetime Sportsman license, Junior Hunt/Trap/Fish, Adult Sportsman license and Permanent Senior Citizens license holders are not required to purchase supplemental big game licenses.
In addition to private lands, including public hunting areas, several wildlife management areas (WMAs) will be open to hunters during this muzzleloader season. Hunters need to refer to the 2019-20 Hunting and Trapping Guide for a listing of these WMAs or go to TWRA’s website.
Tennessee’s gun season for deer opens in units A, B, C, D, and L on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. This year’s date is Nov. 23. The season for gun/muzzleloader/archery will then continue through Jan. 5, 2020. Archery equipment is legal during muzzleloader and gun seasons. Muzzleloaders are legal during gun season.

Time to nominate the next volunteer

Submitted by
Danielle Pleasant
Volunteers play a critical role in the success of Tennessee communities across the state. Through nonprofit organizations, national service programs, faith-based organizations, and neighbor-helping-neighbor, outstanding volunteer service is part of our state heritage. The Governor’s Volunteer Stars Awards (GVSA) is an annual event that honors the efforts of volunteers from across Tennessee. Each year one adult and one youth are selected to receive this prestigious award in recognition of their exemplary volunteer service in Johnson County.
Nominations for both adult and youth (25 and under) volunteers will be accepted until November 18, 2019.
Nominees will be judged based on the community’s need for the volunteer service performed, the initiative taken to perform the service, creativity used to solve a community problem and impact of the volunteer service on the community.
Nomination forms can be picked up at the Johnson County Extension Office. Once completed, please return to [email protected] or drop off at the Johnson County Extension Office.
Additionally, you have the opportunity to nominate a business or non-profit for their outstanding community involvement and service. Businesses and non-profits can self-nominate; applications are due December 10, 2019.
•Business Nomination Form:
•Nonprofit Nomination Form:
Nominees will be announced by December 2, 2019, and will be recognized at the Governor’s Volunteer Stars Awards ceremony on February 9, 2020, in Franklin, TN.
If nominees are unable to attend the ceremony, their award will be mailed.
Thank you in advance for your submissions.

Farmer veterans found across Tenn Agriculture

Press Release

NASHVILLE – From vegetable growers and livestock producers, to agritourism operators and farm artisans, farmer veterans can be found throughout all types of agriculture in the Volunteer state. As you honor the brave men and women who have served our country this Veterans Day, you have the opportunity to support a farmer veteran near you.
According to the national Census of Agriculture, Tennessee has more than 14,000 farmers with military service. One of them is Dusken Sledge, owner of Wake Robin Homestead in Blount County. Sledge served in the Army National Guard, and now produces a variety of agricultural products for the public and local restaurants.
“We produce honey from our apiaries along with eggs from our chickens and quail,” Sledge said. “We grow a variety of perennial fruits. Our fruit trees, bushes, and vines currently consist of apples, plums, peaches, mulberries, blueberries, blackberries, elderberries, strawberries, and grapes.”
Bright Hill Bed and Barn owners Rick and Karyn Walker served in the Air Force for 22 years. They visited Tennessee a few times between assignments and loved everything about the state. “We dreamed of living on a farm after retirement,” Karyn said. “We have six acres in DeKalb County where we grow blueberries and sell eggs from our chicken flock.”
The Farmer Veteran Coalition is a valuable resource for farmer veterans. This national nonprofit organization offers the Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund grant program, which provides direct financial assistance to veterans who just starting out in farming and ranching.
If you want to support farmer veterans the next time you buy groceries, look for the Homegrown By Heroes label.
Homegrown By Heroes is the Farmer Veteran Coalition branding program that highlights agricultural products produced by U.S. military veterans. It can be found on more than 70 food items throughout Tennessee.
“Tennessee is home to so many people who serve their country and community,” Agriculture Commissioner Charlie Hatcher, D.V.M. said. “Our veterans have sacrificed for us. We are grateful for their service and proud
to see them succeed in agriculture.”
Pick Tennessee is a service of the Tennessee Department of Agriculture that connects consumers to farms,
farmers, farmers markets, artisan foods, and farm related activities across the state.
Look for the Homegrown By Heroes logo when visiting

Agriculture Report

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture – Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services, TN Department of Health, and University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture announced the detection of the invasive Asian longhorned tick in an additional six Tennessee counties: Knox, Jefferson, Claiborne, Cocke, Putnam, and Sevier. The tick was detected in Union and Roane Counties in May.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that there is no evidence to date that the tick has transmitted pathogens to humans in the U.S. There are concerns that the tick may transmit the agent of Theileriosis in cattle, and heavy infestations can cause blood loss and lead to death.
It is important to be aware of this tick, as cattle and canines are particularly susceptible to tick bites. Livestock producers are reminded to be vigilant when purchasing animals, apply a tick treatment to cattle prior to bringing them to your farm, and always use best practices for herd health. Dog owners should provide their animals with a tick preventative and check for ticks.
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.

Agriculture in Johnson County

Johnson County Elementary students enjoy a day at the farm

By Leigh Anne Shull
UT/ TSU Extension- Johnson County

“Why is Agriculture Important?” “Where does my food come from?” “How is that made?” After a recent visit to a local farm, 3rd and 4th-grade students across Johnson County were better able to answer these questions.
The Johnson County UT/TSU Extension Office held its 6th Annual Farm Day event at Iron Mountain Farms in Butler on Monday, October 7. The event helped students learn the importance of agriculture and how important it is to our everyday lives.
While at Farm Day, students visited nine different stations that in part included Mary Shull and Holly Tindell, local beekeepers in Johnson County, taught students the importance of beekeeping and about the different types of bees and their roles.
Charlie Brown and Keith Gwinn, of Tri-State Growers CO-OP, taught students abou beef cattle. Students were amazed to learn about different by-products beef cattle produce like gum,

gelatin, soaps, plastics, and some medicines.
When arriving at the horse exhibit, Diana Hilton, taught the students about several of the different breeds of horses.
At the sheep exhibit,
Mollie Ingle, of Iron Mountain Farms, taught students about the different breeds of wool sheep and products made from wool. The children were also able to experience hands-on learning by petting and feeding sheep, as well as feeling different types of wool.
Lori Kegley, of Iron Mountain Farms, talked about different poultry breeds.
The students also enjoyed helping her count to ten and watch as her rooster fell asleep.
Others who gave of their time to welcome the students included Diane and Dante Bolognese, of Pine Needles Farm, Cindy Church, of Appalachian Black Walnuts, Jason Hughes, from USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Brandon Stout and Cody Buck from the Tennessee Department of Forestry who taught students about fire safety including the proper ways to prevent and respond to a fire.
As a result of Farm Day, we hope that the 3rd and 4th-grade students of Johnson County have a better understanding of life on the farm and where their food comes from.
“We also hope they will learn to appreciate the farmer and all of the hard work and dedication associated with this occupation,” officials at the UT/ TSU Extension- Johnson County said.
Johnson County Extension would like to thank Farm Bureau and Farm Bureau Women, the Johnson County FFA and 4-H Honor Club, as well as all the presenters and the many volunteers who devoted their day and their time to share the importance of agriculture with local students.
A special thank you goes out to James and Lori Kegley of Iron Mountain Farms for investing time and effort in preparing their farm to host our event.

Deer are already prepared for winter, are you prepared for deer?

Contributed by Green Earth Media Group

A deer standing in the grass Description automatically generatedLike many mammals, deer physically prepare for winter by better insulating their bodies. In the fall, deer gradually trade their summer coats for a warmer winter one, which is more substantial and has thicker, longer, darker hair called “guard hairs” to protect their fur and skin from rain and snow.
Their winter coat naturally absorbs more sunlight and traps more body heat than their warm-weather coat, which provides an exceptional amount of protection from the cold. Deer also have oil-producing glands in their skin that help make their hair, water resistant, which is especially valuable in the snow. For even further insulation, their bodies naturally begin to retain more fat in winter, for even more protection.
They generally become less active, sometimes dropping their metabolism by half, which allows them to save energy.
Deer can hunker down during particularly harsh winter weather and survive on their fat, but eventually they have to eat something, although their preferred food sources are long gone.
Although amazing, deer do survive harsh winters when the vegetation they prefer is nearly impossible to find. Deer’s usual winter diet includes food that is not particularly nutritious, but it’s above the snow and available to feed on, like twigs, leaves, bark and evergreen shrubs and trees like yews and arborvitae.
Arborvitae is a popular tree and a common backyard hedging solution that grows moderately fast and looks pretty around the perimeter of any yard. During a harsh winter, deer can decimate arborvitae trees, turning them into trees that look like lollipops!
Because food is so scarce during winter and high deer populations mean more competition for food, deer are likely to be more resistant to efforts to repel them. They’ll return to areas, like your yard, where they found plentiful pickings in warm weather and be more inclined to stay put until your yard is stripped clean of all possible food sources.
A single adult deer eats about 7 pounds of food a day and does usually occupy the same 3- to 4-square-mile area for their entire lives. That means if you’ve had deer in your yard before, it is more than likely your yard is already on their list to forage food this winter, so your shrubs and trees – your most expensive landscaping- is at risk this winter.
Your best defense against deer is the continual use of a proven-effective repellent, like easy-to-use Bobbex Deer Repellent, foliar spray. The product is an environmentally friendly, nontoxic and long-lasting deer deterrent that’s safe for people, pets, wildlife and aquatic life.
Ingredients include putrescent eggs, fishmeal, fish oil, garlic, and other natural ingredients — all materials that offend a deer’s sensitive sense of smell and taste. Additional ingredients such as urea and Epsom contain natural fertilizer components which are actually beneficial for all plantings.
Bobbex Deer mimics predator scents, which deer have an aversion to and is classified a fear repellent, it also tastes terrible to deer, adding another layer of protection. Because it contains effective sticking agents, the repellent won’t wash off even in harsh winter weather. And it’s been 3rd party tested against 9 other like-repellents and is rated #1 for protection against deer browse.
The experts at Bobbex recommend a steady course of repellent application in every season as deer shift their feeding patterns.
Since we know deer learn from experience, maintaining repellent applications throughout the year will “school” them to continually bypass your yard in favor of less objectionable fare elsewhere.
Left undeterred, deer can strip bare your landscape’s most expensive and susceptible plantings in winter, leaving you with an unattractive yard and high replacement costs when warm weather arrives.
Preparing now and taking preventive steps against the ravages of deer can help ensure they’ll learn to leave your yard alone throughout the winter, and with continued use, you can keep them at bay, all year long.
For more information, please visit

Hot, dry weather may provide later and less vibrant foliage

By Jill Penley
Freelance Writers

The end of September is when East Tennessee typically starts enjoying autumn colors before a mid-October peak; however, fall foliage prognosticators fear as unusually hot and especially dry weather continues, leaves might begin to turn brown and fall off before displaying the colors we have come accustomed to enjoying in East Tennessee and beyond.
“In all likelihood, our fall foliage colors will not be as good this year,” said Rick Thomason, UT/TSU Johnson County Extension County Director. “This is due to the hot temperatures and dry weather we’ve experienced here in late summer and continuing into the fall. When you have this combination of dry weather and hot temperatures, the leaves just dry up on the trees, turn brown and fall off prior to the pigments being formed in the leaves, which give us the bright fall colors. Many trees have already been shedding their leaves. What color we do have this year is predicted to be a little later than normal. Instead of the peak season for fall foliage in Johnson County is expected in late October, we expect it to be later in November
this year and the mountains not being as colorful this year.”
Prime fall foliage in East Tennessee also varies by elevation as the first hints of fall color begin at the highest points, then week after week, sweep down to the lower elevations and valleys where it tends to be cooler.
Shorter days and cooler — but not freezing — nights help those biochemical processes start changing the leaves’ colors. The University of Tennessee Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Center explains that during summer, it is chlorophyll that gives leaves their green color. This complex chemical, which is essential in the photosynthetic production of food sugars, is continually being manufactured and broken down at approximately equal rates.
Leaf-changing is more than just a scenic occurrence. It is the scientific process that prepares trees and leaves for the winter ahead. As fall approaches, the steadily decreasing length of day and cooler temperatures interact to biologically trigger the formation of a corky layer of cells across the base of the leaf. This formation gradually decreases the supply of water and minerals to the leaf; reduces the manufacture of chlorophyll; and traps sugars in the leaf. When chlorophyll is reduced, pigments become prominent and are responsible for the coloration of autumn leaves.
“Sourwood, dogwood, maple, sassafras and birch trees are the first to make the change, turning red, orange and yellow,” explained Thomason. “At this point, there is just a hint of fall color change among those early autumn starters.”
While temperature, sunlight, elevation, and soil moisture all play a role in how to fall foliage appears, year after year, despite the conditions, the East Tennessee mountains come alive with deep yellows, oranges, reds. This year is no difference, except they may appear slightly later and somewhat muted.

Is Fall a Good Time to Plant Trees and Shrubs?

Submitted by Rick Thomason

Many people assume that the best time to plant trees and shrubs is in the spring because they have the entire growing season to become established.
However, spring weather isn’t always cooperative when it comes to getting plants in the ground. Late snow or excessive rainfall can make the soil too wet and unstable to properly plant. If an extended rainy period is immediately followed by hot, dry summer weather, new trees and shrubs can suffer. This stress manifests as scorched leaves and limited growth. Thus, fall planting becomes an attractive alternative.
Planting in the fall has some of the same benefits as planting in the spring. Temperatures are typically cool, causing plants to lose less water through their leaves due to transpiration than they would in hot weather.
This makes it less likely for plants to experience stress, and more energy can be directed to root production. When the air temperature drops below that of the soil, shoot growth ceases and roots continue to develop until the soil dips below 40℉.
A healthy, well-established root system goes a long way towards ensuring vigorous growth in the spring.
Planting in the fall is not without risks, and the chance of plant failure increases the later in the season you wait. Aim to give plants at least six weeks of mild weather for root growth before freezing temperatures arrive. While the exact timing of this is impossible to know, October is a good deadline.
As a general rule, deciduous plants are more suitable for fall planting than evergreens. Evergreens, like arborvitae or rhododendrons, lose water through their leaves throughout the winter and are especially susceptible to winter injury before their roots are established.
Plants with shallow, fibrous roots are usually the best choices for fall planting because they recover faster than those with large, thick taproots.
Deciduous species that respond well to fall planting include apples, crabapples, lindens, maples, hawthorns, honey locusts and elms. Success is also likely with most deciduous shrubs such as lilacs, witchhazels and forsythia.
Important aspects of planting successfully in the fall are choosing healthy plants. Only purchase plants that have a good structure and are free of diseases, and dead or broken branches. Also make sure there are no signs of girdling roots.
After planting, new trees and shrubs should be watered thoroughly and consistently, applying enough water to moisten the soil to a depth of eight to ten inches at least once a week.
Continue watering until freezing temperatures arrive. Winter weather is unpredictable, and even tough plants may not survive if conditions are severe, particularly in early winter.
However, fall planting can still be a great option for gardeners to consider.
*Source: University of New Hampshire Extension.

Knowing when it’s too hot to ride

By Danielle Pleasant

Warm summer days have many equine enthusiasts ready to saddle up and ride, however with the rising temperatures, we must be cautious of overheating our equine partners. Being aware of our horse’s physiology, as well as, knowing the signs and symptoms of dehydration and heat related illnesses can help us provide the best care for our animals during sweltering summer days.

Horses release excess body heat by sweating. As the sweat evaporates, it causes a cooling effect. High humidity, along with high temperatures, compromise this effect, reducing the horse’s ability to efficiently cool down. A good rule of thumb is if the combined air temperature and humidity are over 150 care should be taken to ensure the horse does not become heat stressed.

As horses sweat, water and electrolytes are lost. The average horse typically consumes 6-10 gallons of water daily. Factors such as diet, exercise and temperature can greatly influence water intake, increasing the maintenance level anywhere from 20-300 percent. Meaning a horse may drink 20 or more gallons of water during hot, humid weather. Providing clean, fresh, cool water along with salt will help avoid dehydration. If electrolytes or flavorings are used, be sure to offer plain water as well (Ivey).

Take advantage of cooler temperatures in the early morning, late evening and even overnight for turn out times. Sunscreen, masks, and flysheets may be beneficial for horses prone to sunburn. It is best to avoid riding or exercising during the hottest part of the day. However, if your horse must be worked (perhaps for a show or competition) help keep them cool between classes and after excising by taking advantage of shady and natural breezes, utilizing fans and misters, and sponging or hosing them off. Be aware that water can be insulating and if not scrapped off, negatively affecting the horse’s ability to cool down (Porr).

When stalling your horse, keep the barn as open as possible and use fans if necessary to keep good ventilation; just be sure to keep electrical cords and plugs out of the horse’s reach. Pasture kept horses also need shade, run-in sheds and trees are sufficient. Be aware that shaded areas may change throughout the day as the sun moves, so have a plan to provide sun relief throughout the day (Johnston).

Body condition and feed management also affect a horse’s ability to stay cool. The additional body fat in an overweight horse acts as insulation, trapping body heat, making cooling down more difficult. Furthermore, the digestion of feed generates body heat, with some grains and forages producing more heat than others. This can be a problem, particularly for thin horses, if a horse goes off feed when too hot. Adding fat to the daily ration(s) will increase calorie intake without increasing the volume of the feed. Fat also produces less heat when digested compared to protein and carbohydrates. Additionally, feeding grass, instead of legume, forages will also decrease metabolic heat (Porr).

Knowing your horse, as well as the dangers of prolonged exposed to high temperatures are vital to maintaining your animal’s health and avoiding costly treatment. Overheating, due to hot weather, excising, standing in a hot stall or trailering can result in dehydration, muscle spasms, colic, heat stress and even heat stroke.

Profuse sweating or lack of sweat, lethargy, dry mucus membranes, prolonged skin tents (4-10 seconds), increased heart rate, incoordination and rectal temperatures above 103° are common signs of heat related illness. If you suspect your horse is suffering from a heat-related illness, move your horse to a cooler environment and contact your veterinarian immediately. Prevention is much easier and less detrimental to your horse and wallet, so before saddling up, think about how you are going to keep your horse cool (UMN Extension).

September is National Honey Month


By Mary Shull
Jo. Co. Beekeepers Association President

Have you ever watched honey bees busily flying from one flower to the next? It is the beginning of the process bees use to make the thick, sweet, golden treat we know as honey.
It all starts in the hive. A bee colony is made up of one queen, worker bees and drones. Most are worker bees and are all female, and the drones are male. The only job of the drones is to mate with the queen. A queen takes sixteen days from egg to hatching. Drones take twenty-four days from egg to hatching while the worker bees take twenty-one days from egg to hatching. The young worker bees immediately start their life by cleaning the cells they hatched from and preparing them for the queen to lay more eggs. During the honey season, a queen can lay over two thousand eggs per day. A colony of bees has typically 30,000 to 60,000 bees. A really strong colony can have more during a strong honey flow.
As the young workers age, they move up to processing the honey from the nectar the foragers bring in. Their next step in life will be when they venture out of the hive and become foragers. The cycle continues. During the honey season, a worker’s lifespan is around forty-two days.
The foragers bring nectar and pollen back to the hive and pass it to the worker bees, who processes into honey and puts into hexagonal shaped cells called honeycomb. The younger worker bees use their wings which flap around 183 times per second to pull the moisture out of the nectar. Once they have the moisture content down to sixteen to eighteen percent, they use more wax to cap off each cell.
A forager usually travels around two miles to collect nectar, but during a dearth can travel around five miles. They fly at fifteen miles per hour.
One honeybee only produces 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey in its lifetime. Therefore, it takes twelve bees to make one teaspoon of honey and thirty-six bees to produce one tablespoon. It takes a lifetime of approximately 576 bees to produce one cup of honey. Since honey is measured by weight rather than volume, one container is twelve ounces. A quart jar of honey weighs three-pound (48 oz). To produce one pound of honey, it takes around 60,000 bees, collectively traveling up to 55,000 miles and visiting more than 2 million flowers.
The flowers bees visit determines the color and flavor of the honey. Clover, Alfalfa, Locust, Basswood, and Sourwood are all light, while Buckwheat is a very dark honey.
The darker the honey, the stronger the taste.
Honey is full of minerals, vitamins, enzymes, and has antibacterial and antioxidant properties. Other than a food source, honey is also used in medicines, both internal and topical.
Honey is a good substitute for sugar in cooking and in baked goods. If a recipe calls for 1/3 Cup of sugar, replace with 4 Tablespoons of honey. To substitute for one cup of sugar, use 2/3 to ¾ Cup of honey. In baking, if using a cup or more of honey, cut back on another liquid by one-quarter cup.
Honey makes baked goods moister. There are charts on the internet for various measurements as well as plenty of recipes. Be creative with your own recipes.
When you see honey bees out and about, observe, and appreciate them more. They are fascinating. They don’t just make honey; they pollinate the crops that produce the foods we eat.
Johnson County has a Beekeepers Club that meets the second Tuesday night each month at 7:00 p.m. in the Farm Bureau basement. If you are a beekeeper or would like to become a beekeeper, you are invited to join us. Our e-mail is: [email protected]

USDA conducts signup for Market Facilitation Program

Staff Report
The Farm Service Agency is conducting a sign up for the Market Facilitation Program (MFP), a
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) program to assist farmers who continue to suffer from damages because of unjustified trade retaliation from foreign nations. Through MFP, USDA will provide up to $14.5 billion in direct payments to impacted producers, part of a broader trade relief package announced in late July. The sign-up period runs through Dec. 6.
MFP payments will be made to producers of certain non-specialty and specialty crops as well as dairy and hog producers.
Non-Specialty Crops
MFP payments will be made to producers of alfalfa hay, barley, canola, corn, crambe, dried beans, dry peas, extra-long staple cotton, flaxseed, lentils, long grain and medium grain rice, millet, mustard seed, oats, peanuts, rapeseed, rye, safflower, sesame seed, small and large chickpeas, sorghum, soybeans, sunflower seed, temperate japonica rice, triticale, upland cotton, and wheat.
MFP assistance for 2019 crops is based on a single county payment rate multiplied by a farm’s total plantings to the MFP-eligible crops in aggregate in 2019. Those per acre payments are not dependent on which of those crops are planted in 2019. A producer’s total payment-eligible plantings cannot exceed total 2018 plantings.
Dairy and Hogs
Dairy producers who were in business as of June 1, 2019, will receive a per hundredweight payment on production history, and hog producers will receive a payment based on the number of live hogs owned on a day selected by the producer between April 1 and May 15, 2019.
Specialty Crops
MFP payments will also be made to producers of almonds, cranberries, cultivated ginseng, fresh grapes, fresh sweet cherries, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pistachios, and walnuts. Each specialty crop will receive a payment based on 2019 acres of fruit or nut bearing plants, or in the case of ginseng, based on harvested acres in 2019.

Applying broadleaf herbicides to lawn

By Rick Patterson

Fall is the best time to apply broadleaf herbicides in lawns. In fall, perennial broadleaf weeds are transporting food (carbohydrates) from their foliage to their roots in preparation for winter. Broadleaf herbicides applied in fall will be absorbed by the broadleaf weed’s foliage and transported to the roots along with the carbohydrates, resulting in the destruction of the broadleaf weeds. Spring applications are generally less effective than fall applications.
The most effective broadleaf herbicide products contain a mixture of two or three herbicides, as no single compound will control all broadleaf weeds. The most common broadleaf herbicides contain 2,4-D, dicamba, triclopyr, mecoprop (MCPP) or quinclorac. Look on the label to make sure that the herbicide is labeled to use on lawns and contains two or more of these active ingredients.
To ensure adequate herbicide absorption, apply broadleaf herbicides when no rain is forecast for at least 24 hours. After treatment, allow four to five days to pass before mowing. This allows sufficient time for the broadleaf weeds to absorb the herbicide and translocate it to their roots.
Broadleaf herbicides can be applied as liquids or granules. Before applying any herbicide, carefully read and follow all label directions.
Apply liquid broadleaf herbicides when the winds are light and temperatures are forecast to remain below 85 degrees Fahrenheit for 24 hours. Select a nozzle that produces coarse droplets and use low sprayer pressure. When spraying, keep the nozzle close to the ground. By following these recommendations, it will lessen the chances of having the herbicide drift and get on other sensitive plants nearby that you don’t intend to kill. If only a few areas in the lawn have broadleaf weed problems, spot treat these areas rather than spraying the entire lawn. Apply just enough material to wet the leaf surfaces. Liquid herbicides are usually more effective than granular products.
Granular broadleaf herbicides often are combined with fertilizers. Apply granular broadleaf herbicides and fertilizer/broadleaf herbicide combinations when the foliage is wet. Broadleaf herbicides are absorbed by the weed’s foliage, not its roots. Moisture on the weed’s foliage allows the granular herbicide to stick to the foliage for maximum absorption. Apply granular products in the early morning when the foliage is wet with dew or irrigate the lawn prior to application.
Broadleaf herbicides are most effective when applied to weeds that are actively growing. During prolonged periods of dry weather, some weeds are likely to curl up or wilt. An application of a broadleaf herbicide to drought stressed weeds will likely be less effective, as wilted foliage will absorb less herbicide than healthy foliage. In dry fall weather, wait for a good rain or irrigate the lawn before applying a broadleaf herbicide. One-half inch or more of water (either from rainfall or irrigation) will quickly revive most drought stressed weeds.
*Source: Dr. Richard Jauron, Extension Horticulturist, Iowa State University Extension

Local 4–H Chick Chain project compete for Championship title

Front Row (L-R) Chloe Johnson, Eric Chant, Gavin Stout, Mason Sluder, Landon Greene, Jason Simcox,
River Sams; Back Row (L-R) Sean Trivett, Alex Young, Hailey Chant, Corbin Presnell, and Dalton Ward. Submitted photo

By Danielle Pleasant

The annual 4-H poultry show and sale was held on Saturday, August 31st at the Longhorn Auction Company.
This event marks the culmination of another successful 4-H Chick Chain project. The Chick Chain is a traditional 4-H project that allows students to raise chickens from chicks to pullets and eventually to lay hens.
Along the way, 4-H’ers learn responsibility, ethical decision-making, and many other life skills. The project wraps up with 4-H’ers entering their best pullets in the show and competing for the title of the Bill Brookshire Poultry Champion, named after longtime supporter Bill Brookshire.
With the passing of Mr. Brookshire, Chris and Bonnie Reece of Johnson County Bank as well as Teresa Sillstrop presented the awards in honor of their father.
All the pullets entered were auctioned with proceeds going to 4-H to support the continuation of the Chick Chain for many years to come. Congrats to Corbin Presnell being named this year’s Bill Brookshire Poultry Champion.
River Sams took home reserve champion followed by Dalton Ward with the 3rd place pullets.

Winners Photo: Chris Reece, Bonnie Reece, Corbin Presnell, Dalton Ward,
River Sams, and Teresa Sillstrop. Submitted photo

Thanks to all the 4-H’ers, parents, buyers and volunteers as well as Johnson County Bank, Longhorn Auction Company, and Tri-State Growers Co-Op for supporting the 4-H chick chain project.

Using cover crops in the home garden

Submitted by Rick Thomason

Cover crops can be an important component to any home garden. They are used for various reasons, including building the soil, controlling soil erosion, and limiting the initiation and spread of certain diseases and insects in the soil. Cover crops are primarily used to “rest” or leave a garden area open during non-production times. Therefore, they are most often planted in the fall.
Leaving an unplanted area of your garden as bare soil can easily lead to the germination of unwanted weeds and to damaging soil erosion. Cover crops are intended to cover this bare soil and provide a cheap source of nutrition for your garden plants when cover crops are turned under and decomposed into the soil. They also increase the organic matter of the soil, as they break down into humus. Cover crops look more attractive than bare soil and, depending on the type of cover crops you plant, can attract beneficial and pollinating insects. Rotating between different vegetable families, as well as planting cover crops, can assist in starving out damaging soil pathogens by providing a non-host plant. Overall, the planting of cover crops is an essential organic method of protecting your garden, building better soil and increasing production.
Cover crops should be established after the summer garden fades, usually from early September into the first part of October. If you are not planning on planting a winter vegetable garden, you should consider seeding your entire garden in a cover crop. Try using a combination of a cereal grain with some type of legume. Typically, wheat, oats or rye is planted with a legume, such as clover or winter peas. Be sure you do not use ryegrass for a winter cover crop. Ryegrass is different than the cereal grain rye, and it is much too competitive and difficult to eradicate.
Legume crops have the added bonus of fixing atmospheric nitrogen, which can be used by the crops that follow when the legumes are tilled into the soil. This can help reduce your fertilizer expenses. A typical mix might be 3 to 4 pounds of a cereal grain with 0.25 pounds of a legume per 1,000 square feet.
Another important consideration is the use of a legume inoculant. Specific Rhizobia bacteria invade the roots of legumes, forming nodules where nitrogen fixation takes place. These bacteria are specific for different legumes and can be purchased to inoculate legume seed before planting. Inoculant comes in the form of a powder and is live bacteria. There are specific inoculants for various types of clovers and other legumes, so be sure to purchase the correct one. Sometimes the seed can be purchased that are already pre-inoculated. Nitrogen fertilizer should not be applied to legume cover crops as this interferes with nitrogen fixation; however, applications of phosphorus and potassium according to soil test recommendations can enhance nitrogen fixation.
Cover crops establish quickly when planted on a well-prepared seedbed. Prepare the bed by removing old vegetable plants and tilling the area to a depth of 4 or 5 inches. Seed can be broadcast over the intended planting area at the proper rate discussed earlier. It is best to test the soil before planting to determine the pH and fertility needs of your cover crop. Lime and fertilizer can be applied at the time of planting and should be tilled into the soil just before spreading seed. After the seed has been planted, lightly rake or drag the seed into the soil to establish good soil contact. Tiny seeds, such as clover, should not be buried deeply; make sure they are just barely below the soil surface. If you happen to have access to a roller or cultipacker, it is an excellent idea to go over the seedbed with such a tool to help firm the bed and increase germination.
Water the newly planted area every other day for the first week or two to assist in germination. Once the cover crop is up and growing, you can cut back watering to once a week.
*Source: University of Georgia Extension (Circular 1057), “Using Cover Crops in the Home Garden”

FFA lands a $2k donation

Students from the Johnson County FFA chapter receive a generous donation of $1,000 from Tri-State Growers Co-op. CoBank, a co-op associated financial firm, matched this donation 100 percent. Funds will go towards the FFA member T-Shirt program for the 2019-2020 school year. Submitted photo.

Fifth Generation Farm Becomes Certified Naturally Grown

Story submitted by Aly Miller

Brown’s Farm in Mountain City, TN became the third in Johnson County to become Certified Naturally Grown, joining Harbin Hill Farms and A Bushel and A Peck in this grassroots certification.

Officials said that farmers Debbie and Bob Snyder earned the certification after demonstrating natural growing practices that promote ecological balance and replenish the soil, in a peer-inspection conducted by fellow farmer Richard Calkins of Harbin Hill Farms.

“The Snyders joined this national certification program to highlight their natural growing practices to consumers and markets looking for healthy, chemical-free food,” said Aly Miller “They grow food for their family, and for the past few years they’ve been growing for the community as well.”Certified Naturally Grown (CNG) is a certification program for farmers and beekeepers that use natural practices, without any synthetic chemicals or GMOs, to produce food for their local communities.

“Many producers are drawn to CNG because our peer-review inspections foster valuable connections and knowledge exchange among farmers who share a commitment to high standards for farming in harmony with nature,” says Alice Varon, Executive Director of CNG.

Brown’s Farm is proud to join this international movement of nearly 800 family farmers across the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico.

This fifth-generation farm began in the late 1800s when the Brown’s settled there to raise tobacco, hay, cattle, and corn, as well as vegetables for their family. The family’s agrarian past is visible everywhere–the barn, granary, chicken coop, woodshed, springhouse, and smokehouse were all built over 100 years ago.

Today, Debbie and Bob raise vegetables using healthy, chemical-free methods that promote the health of their soil and their ecosystem. This summer, they’re busy growing heirloom watermelon, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, and winter squash. The watermelon should be ready the first week of August, with pumpkins and winter squash expected to arrive at the market from late September through mid-October. In addition to healthy vegetables, Debbie and Bob also raise Kiko meat goats. This fall, you can look out for their sustainably grown pumpkins, which decorate local storefronts and businesses.

You can purchase products and goats directly on the Farm. You can also purchase their produce at the Johnson County Farmers Market on Saturdays 9am-12pm, and the High Country Food Hub ( They also sell to local restaurants, as well.

If you’d like to purchase directly at the Farm or if you’d like to purchase wholesale, contact Debbie Brown Snyder at [email protected] or call 423-213-0534.

Advanced Master Beef Program

Agriculture in Johnson County

By Rick Thomason

UT/TSU-Johnson County Extension Director

In order to qualify for the 50% cost share offered through the Tennessee Agriculture Enhancement Program, producers must complete the Advanced Master Beef Producer program once every three years. Beef Cattle producers in Johnson and Carter counties will have two options to complete the Adv. MBP program in 2019.
1. A seven night course will be offered in Mountain City on September 9, 12, 16, 19, 23, 26 and 30th. These classes will meet in the basement of the Johnson County Farm Bureau building at 6:30 p.m.
2. The Adv. MBP program will also be offered in Greeneville, TN on October 10th and 11th. These classes will be given over 2 full days and producers will be required to attend both days.
The registration fee for either class is $75 and will cover snacks/meals, educational materials, cap, farm sign and a MBP certificate. (Note: this does not include the Beef Quality Assurance certification fee. The BQA fee is $20 for members of the Tennessee Cattleman’s Association or $40 for non-members).
Beef cattle producers may pre-register for the program at either the Johnson or Carter county Extension office. The Johnson County office is located at 212 College Street in Mountain City beside the Mountain City Post Office. The Extension office in Carter county is located at 824 East Elk Avenue in Elizabethton
The Tennessee Agriculture Enhancement Program will be having several changes for the 2019-20 program year. New programs for the upcoming year include a Cattle Herd Health program and a Hay Equipment program. These are in addition to the Livestock Equipment, Genetics and Working Facility Cover programs.
Hay Storage (barns) will not be offered next year in order to have funds available for the Hay Equipment program. If you would like to read more about the TAEP program, their website is:
If you have any questions or need additional information, call the UT/TSU-Johnson County Extension office at 727-8161. You may also contact the UT-Carter County Extension office at 542-1818.

Dealing with Heat Stress in Cattle

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.

Interest in hemp production growing in Tennessee

By Jill Penley
Freelance Writer

A combination of changing laws, consumer demand and favorable growing conditions have many Tennessee farmers toying with the idea of raising industrial hemp especially since the Tennessee Department of Agriculture has made big changes to its hemp program.
“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.”
Hemp producers are now able to apply for a license to grow the crop year-round and where the application period used to last for three months, from mid-November to mid-February.
The change means prospective growers can now apply whenever they want. Any person who grows hemp in Tennessee, however, regardless of the quantity, is required to have a hemp grower license.
Hemp, an incredibly versatile and sustainable plant, had played an essential role in history dating back to the colonial years when it was exported to England where it was used for clothing, shoes, maps, books, ship’s rigging, parachute webbing, baggage, sails, and tents.
Hemp remained a staple well after the United States earned its independence; however, most American history books contain no mention of hemp because of its close association with marijuana. Hemp and marijuana are both members of the same plant species, Cannabis sativa L, which can contain a wide spectrum of cannabinoid concentrations.
In 1937, the U.S. government passed the Marijuana Tax Act, essentially barring the cultivation, sale, and possession of the entire cannabis genus. The act made no distinction between hemp and marijuana, grouping all varietals under a single designation.
Historically, industrial hemp has been regarded primarily as an agricultural crop valued for fiber and grain. Hemp fiber is used to make textiles, building materials, animal bedding, mulch, paper, industrial products, and biofuels. Hemp grain, or seed, is used in the food and feed products, and oil from the seed is used to make personal care products and industrial products, including paints, solvents, and lubricants.
The Tennessee Department of Agriculture has licensed more than 2,900 hemp growers in 2019 as compared to the 226 hemp producer applications received by the agency in 2018. Some are suggesting this might be the crop to replace tobacco, which was a mainstay income for many small farmers not too long ago, but there remains a great deal of confusion and misinformation surrounding hemp especially since it is dogged by regulatory confusion and unclear terminology.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “marijuana refers to the dried leaves, flowers, stems, and seeds from the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa. The plant contains the mind-altering chemical delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other related compounds. Extracts can also be made from the cannabis plant.”
Virtually all of the health care products derived from the cannabis plant center around Cannabidiol (CBD) oil and hemp oil.
Each is used and sold as natural health remedies. CBD, which is extracted from the flowers and buds of marijuana or hemp plants, does not produce intoxication. Marijuana’s “high” is caused by the chemical tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
Presently in Tennessee, the cultivation and possession of marijuana are prohibited, and both the recreational and medicinal uses of marijuana are illegal. As of mid-July, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture reports only one licensed hemp grower in Johnson County.