LYNCHBURG, Tenn. — A lot of you should have already received your letter concerning the Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program (TAEP) program for 2015-16. If you didn’t understand it, give me a call at (931) 759-7163.
TAEP is a cost share program for Tennessee’s Agricultural community. Participation allows producers to maximize farm profits, adapt to changing market situations, improve operation safety, increase farm efficiency and make a positive economic impact in their communities.
I am sure you noticed that the grants were all cut by 20 percent, except for Genetics. Overall, they actually went up because of the new heifer program being added. Equipment and facility covers were cut from $3,500 to $2,500. Barns went from $7,500 down to $6,000 and commodity or feed storage went from $10,000 down to $8,000.
Keep in mind the hay barns are paid by the square foot which is $3 per square foot for Master Producers, while all others will be $2 per square foot minimum. Up until Nov. 2, you can switch from one of the larger projects to a smaller one. In other words if you are approved for feed storage you could back up to equipment. If you were approved for equipment you cannot switch up to a barn.
Equipment receipts and other paperwork has to be in by Feb. 1, 2016. All other projects have to be in by Sept. 1, 2016. You can mail any of it in earlier if you are through and get your money sooner. This is better for their employees because they can only approve so many each day. So as soon as you can get everything done, send it in.
I’m being asked “why are the grants lower?” Easy, more of your neighbors are getting into the program. More than 6,000 folks applied this year. That’s a record representing a 14 percent increase over last year and consistent with the average increase for the past three years.
Demand for funding is stronger than ever, which shows Tennessee Producers value the TAEP program and the projects being offered.
Because of record demand for TAEP funding, project maximums have been reduced in order to allow all approved applicants to receive cost share assistance. Although reduced, the new project maximums are consistent with actual reimbursement amounts requested by producers in previous years and still provide a significant incentive for producers to complete their projects.
If you got a letter asking for a copy of your schedule F get that back in. You will not be approved until it is in their office. It takes someone dying in order for you to get a grant if you do not provide your schedule F. Some 20 percent of the applicants were asked for a copy.
This is to keep non-farmers out of the picture. If for some reason you decide not to do the project, you have to let the state know or you will not be approved the following year. That date is one month before your completion date, which is either Jan. 1 for working equipment or Aug. 1 for everything else.
—By LARRY MOOREHEAD, UT Extension Agent & County Director
The U.T. Extension Office of Moore County offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, age, national origin, veteran status or disability.