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 www.bobbex.com

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: johnsoncountybeekeepers@outlook.com.

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 (https://www.highcountryfoodhub.org). 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 debbie.brownsfarm@gmail.com 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: https://www.tn.gov/agriculture/farms/taep.html
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: https://www.noble.org/news/publications/ag-news-and-views/2009/june/monitor-and-manage-heat-stress/

· 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.

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: https://www.noble.org/news/publications/ag-news-and-views/2009/june/monitor-and-manage-heat-stress/
•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 extension.tennessee.edu/publications/Documents/PB1038

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 www.tn.gov/agriculture/businesses/animals/animal-health/equine-passport.html.

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 arcd.org. To volunteer as a Farm Docent or learn more, please contact Rachel Wheeler, rachel@arcd.org.