TROY, Tenn., Jan 05, 2012 -- Small to moderate-scale agricultural production is an important supplement to the income of many Obion County families. The return on investment for larger farms has remained one of the few bright spots during the economic downturn.
Congressman Stephen Fincher and USDA Rural Development (RD) State Director Bobby Goode today joined Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA) Commissioner Julius Johnson and local leaders at an open house at the Obion County Community Agricultural Learning Center. The new education and training facilities were made possible with funding from a TDA Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Grant for construction and a Rural Development grant for equipment.
The facilities are situated to serve Obion Central High School in Troy and will focus on education in horticulture, landscaping, greenhouse management, nursery production, turf and grass management and improvement, floriculture and the production and marketing of alternative agriculture crops. They are designed to increase educational opportunities as well as business and community development for adults as well as students.
"Farmers and other agriculture-related businesses create jobs that are based on our agricultural assets and heritage," said Goode. "Investment of time and money from all the partners in this facility provide tools for the next generation to build a healthy, diversified local economy."
Others participating in the event included Sen. Lamar Alexander’s Representative Matt Varino, State Rep. Bill Sanderson, State Rep. Andy Holt, Obion County Mayor Benny McGuire, Northwest Tennessee Development District Executive Director John Bucy, Obion County Chamber Director Lindsay Frilling, Tennessee ECD Field Representatives Blake Swaggart and Janna Hellums, Tennessee Farm Bureau Regional Field Rep. Matt Fennell, Obion County Central Principal Linda Crigger, RD Area Director Harriet Cannon and staff.
TDA's Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program supports agricultural education activities and encourages better livestock management practices. TAEP was established in 2005 to support agricultural development activities aimed at increasing farm income in the state.
Rural Development's rural business grant programs provide assistance to local governments and non-profit organizations that assist small businesses, develop local business infrastructure, provide job training, conduct feasibility studies or provide technical assistance to businesses and community leaders.
USDA Rural Development invests in jobs, infrastructure, homeownership and affordable rental housing in rural communities. Last year the agency assisted tens of thousands of Tennessee families and businesses, investing more than $737 million through affordable loans, loan guarantees and grants.
For more information on Rural Development programs available in northwest Tennessee contact the Rural Development Area Office in Union City at 731-885-6480 ext. 4, toll free at 800-342-3149 ext. 1497 or visit us online at www.rurdev.usda.gov/tn.
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1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410, or call (800) 795-3272