Check Out These Local Farms, Agriculture-Related Businesses, Organizations

From farm to table to cattle producers and agriculture services, agriculture is Giles County’s top industry. Check out these local farms and agriculture related businesses and organizations.

• 5-Star Equipment and Feed Company: 35 Alexander Springs Rd., Ethridge; 931-829-3410; facebook.com/FiveStarEquipment2014

• Cedar Ridge Angus: 2602 Prospect Rd., Pulaski; 256-508-2874; facebook.com/CedarRidgeAngus

• Flowers Creamery: 2734 Rhea Branch Rd., Ethridge; 931-292-2455; flowerscreamery.com

• Giles County Soil Conservation District: 1024 Mill St., Pulaski, TN; 363-2675, Ext. 3; gcscd.com and on Facebook

• Powell RomMaster: 2799 Cowhorne Hollow Rd., Prospect; 478-6601 or 565-3528; facebook.com/powell.rommasters

• Pulaski Stockyard: 607 West Shoals St. (P.O. Box 719), Pulaski; 424-8389 or 638-5392 or 256-303-7097; pulaskistockyard.com

• Rosie Belle Farm: 7480 Beech Hill Rd., Frankewing; 812-300-3306; rosiebellefarm.com

• Rosson Orchard and Farm: 34 Springer Station Rd., Loretto, TN; 931-629-0705; facebook.com/rossonorchard

• Taylor Family Farm: 301 Risner Rd., Ethridge, TN; 424-5089; taylorfamilyfarmtn.com

• UT-TSU Extension-Giles County: 132 South Second St., Pulaski; 363-3523; giles.tennessee.edu.

Agriculture and the Economy

Though it’s easy to look at the tech industry and think this increasingly influential sector is what makes the world go round, something closer to the very core of the Earth may be what’s driving your economy.

The agricultural sector plays a strategic role in a nation’s economic development and prosperity. From the earliest days, agriculture has been heralded as playing a crucial role in North American culture. Farmers who grow produce and raise livestock for meats and other products have long exemplified what it means to work hard and take initiatives to be self-sufficient.

The symbiotic nature of agriculture and the economy is noticeable when examining the ups and downs of each. This is because food production and the potential of agriculture extends beyond the fields and local food stands. These resources impact supply chains and other markets. A strong agriculture base influences other employment sectors like food manufacturing, biotechnology, hospitality, machinery building, and much more, while a weak agriculture can adversely affect those sectors.

While it can be difficult for residents of developed nations to visualize agriculture’s effect, one only needs to turn to impoverished and developing nations to see just how big an impact agriculture can have on an economy. Agriculture provides food and raw materials, eventually creating demand for goods produced in non-agricultural sectors. Also, food provides nutrition that can serve as the foundation of a healthy nation. Earning a living in agriculture strengthens purchasing power, which fuels other markets. Eventually, farming can pave the way for development, including roads, markets, shipping services, exporting, and many other sectors.

Agriculture is an important economic building block. An especially important sector, the agricultural industry, when supported, can contribute greatly to sustained economic growth.

Agriculture’s Impact in Giles County

Agriculture is a very important industry in Giles County. According to the 2017 U.S. Census of Agriculture, there are 1,599 farms located in the county that market more than $48.8 million in farm products and commodities each year on 251,015 acres. Livestock sales make up 62 percent of the market value while crops add the remaining 38 percent.

Giles County’s agriculture is unique in that it is very diverse with a wide array of production systems including livestock, poultry, grain crops, cotton, honey, dairy, greenhouse and nurseries, fruits and vegetables and agritourism.

Beef production is the largest agriculture sector in the county. Beef sales generate almost half of the county’s total market value of agriculture products sold each year. Giles County statistically ranks third in Tennessee in total beef cattle numbers and also ranks third in hay production.

On-farm and value-added sales have increased substantially from the previous Census of Agriculture conducted in 2012. The $453,000 change in value between 2012 and 2017 ranks third in the state behind only Sevier and Williamson counties. Giles County ranks second in the number of total farms (26) selling valued-added commodities falling only two short of the state leader, Williamson County.

Agritourism and recreational services have become an important income for some family farms. Giles County ranks sixth in the state in reported value of sales for these enterprises.

A study conducted by the University of Tennessee Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics in 2018 focused on agriculture’s contribution to local county economies across Tennessee. This study determined that total direct agriculture output for Giles County was estimated at $489.8 million. This number included all crop and livestock production, food and fiber processing, farm inputs and forestry-based products.

A multiplier effect including farm purchases of local inputs and local spending by farm families and agriculture workers was estimated to be $636 million. Basically, for every $1 of direct output from agriculture, the total economic impact on the county’s economy was estimated to be $1.30.

The study also determined that one direct agriculture job generated an additional 1.93 jobs in the county.

To learn more about Giles County’s agricultural impact, go to the 2017 U.S. Census of Agriculture at nass.usda.gov/Publications/AgCensus/2017/Full_Report/Census_by_State/index.php.

—Giles Extension

Local USDA Service Center Houses Three Agencies to Assist Local Producers

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Service Center in Pulaski is fortunate enough to be able to help producers throughout Giles County.

Our office consists of two federal agencies — the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Farm Service Agency (FSA) — and one county agency, the Giles County Soil Conservation District (GCSCD). We are located at 1024 Mill St., in the Green Acres Village shopping center, in Pulaski.

To quote U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, our job is “to Do Right and Feed Everybody.”  

NRCS has been tasked with helping producers to address resource concerns affected by agriculture. The resources addressed include water quality, soil erosion, soil health, vegetation production and health, etc. These resources can only be targeted through a voluntary approach by producers throughout the nation.

The producers come to the NRCS office and request assistance from us. This assistance involves a technical approach to developing alternatives for the producer to consider.

There are also financial assistance programs such as the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) and the Wetland Reserve Easement Program (WRE). These programs utilize federal funding to provide a practice incentives payment to producers who are willing to implement practices that will benefit our resources and their operation. The average amount of practice incentives brought into Giles County annually is around $750,000.

The Soil Conservation District (GCSCD) is not only part of the county government but also a part of the state government. GCSCD also has a board of directors consisting of five local producers elected by the landowners of Giles County. They are Chairman Larry Dickey, Treasurer Ben Jackson, Russ Underwood, Chris Edgmon, and James McCormack.

The GCSCD employees are to protect and conserve the natural resources of the county for landowners, land users, units of government, educators and organizations by finding and taking available technical, financial and educational resources and making them available to our clients. The district utilizes programs such as the Agriculture Resources Conservation Fund (ARCF), 319 Watershed Grants and aids in the implementation of the federal programs. Annually these programs provide producers with an average of $250,000 in cost share assistance.

The Farm Service Agency (FSA) serves all farmers, ranchers and agricultural partners through the administration of various programs including disaster relief, conservation programs and loan programs.

The FSA County Committees are a critical component of the day-to-day operations of FSA and consist of local farmers and ranchers who are elected to serve on the committee. Elected committee members use their judgment and personal knowledge to help with decisions necessary to administer FSA programs. The Giles County FSA Committee consists of Chairperson Eddy Petty, Vice-Chairperson Dwight Watson, Bartt McCormack and Advisor Patricia McDougal.  

Presently, the FSA office is conducting sign-up for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), which is available to assist crop, livestock and dairy producers. Sign-up continues through Aug. 28.  

For additional information on any programs mentioned, visit farmers.gov or gcscd.com, or call our office at 363-2675.  

—USDA

The Role of Technology in Agriculture

While agriculture might not be the first industry people think of when reflecting on the changing nature of industry, The National Institute of Food and Agriculture notes that modern farms are vastly different than those from a few decades ago.

Farmers have long relied on technology to make their operations as efficient, productive and profitable as possible. NIFA notes that the modern agricultural industry employs technology such as temperature and moisture sensors, aerial images, and global positioning systems.

If it sounds complicated, that’s because it is. For example, modern sensors can detect soil conditions to help farmers know the best possible time to plant seeds so they can reach their full potential. That improves both the efficiency of modern farms as well as their output.

NIFA also notes that agricultural technology has reduced waste. For instance, farmers no longer have to apply water, fertilizers and pesticides uniformly across entire fields. Technology has shown that farmers can simply target specific areas. That saves time and allows farmers to use only minimal quantities of water, fertilizer and pesticides. In addition, according to NIFA, employing agricultural technology in this fashion leads to higher crop productivity and reduces runoff of chemicals into rivers and groundwater, thereby reducing the farm’s impact on local ecosystems.

Modern farms are technological marvels where various technologies are being employed to produce crops more efficiently than ever before. 

Extension Provides Real. Life. Solutions.

UT Extension, along with its partner Tennessee State University, helps Tennesseans to improve their quality of life and solve problems through the application of research and evidenced-based knowledge about agriculture and natural resources, family and consumer sciences, 4-H youth development and community development.

University of Tennessee Extension’s Agriculture and Natural Resources Team helps Tennesseans run more profitable farms and agricultural holdings, grow and process abundant and safe food and create a cleaner environment.

Extension offers many educational programs and services. Some of the most popular include the Tennessee Master Producer Programs that certify producers in Beef, Small Ruminant, Horse, Dairy and Beekeeping.

Other programs and services offered include the Farm MANAGE Program, beef heifer development program, bull testing program, grain crop variety testing, value added agriculture assistance, private applicator pesticide certification, Beef Quality Assurance certification, soil testing, forage testing and much more.

In addition to educational programs and services, there are numerous publications and fact sheets on a variety of agriculture topics to support farmers and agriculture producers.

Follow any road in Tennessee and you’ll find people whose lives have been influenced by Extension’s educational programs.

For more information on Extension programs and services, call 363-3523 or visit giles.tennessee.edu.

—Giles Extension