Farmers Look Into Crystal Ball

Governor Bill Haslam and Ag Commissioner Julius Johnson announced the strategic planning exercise at the annual Tennessee Farm Bureau meeting. Credit TN Photo Services

Governor Bill Haslam and Ag Commissioner Julius Johnson announced the strategic planning exercise at the annual Tennessee Farm Bureau meeting. Credit TN Photo Services

Tennessee farmers are being asked to contemplate their future. State agricultural officials have announced a soul searching exercise.

At the Tennessee Farm Bureau meeting last week, Governor Bill Haslam broadly outlined a plan to harvest feedback from the state’s food and commodity growers. Kentucky launched a similar effort in 2007 to develop a strategic plan.

Julius Johnson is Tennessee’s commissioner of agriculture.

“We know the change is inevitable and everything is going to change. Our consumer that we’re producing for is going to change. We need to try to determine what the consumer wants 10 years down the road.”

Johnson says the future may be less in big fields and more in farmers markets, agri-tourism and niche sectors like hormone-free meats.

Governor Haslam also set a long term goal to double Tennessee farm income in the next ten years. In the last decade, farm cash receipts increased by 60 percent.


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