Agriculture and Forestry “Listening Sessions” Set Statewide

In an effort to continue to increase rural economic development in Tennessee, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture is hosting a series of listening sessions across the state in April and May for farmers, forest landowners and agribusinesses. Agriculture and forestry remain a significant component of Hickman County’s base industries. The purpose of the meetings is to hear stakeholder concerns about current issues and to explore opportunities for developing our rural economy and increasing farm and forest income.

“We want to be available to our producers, landowners and agribusinesses to hear their concerns and to get their input on how we can enhance our rural communities and economy,” Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson said. “This is also about our ongoing efforts to look at how we, as an agency, can provide better service and be more responsive to challenges and opportunities.”

“Agriculture and forestry are growing businesses in Tennessee. We must find the best ways to maintain and expand infrastructure while encouraging long-term profitability.”

A total of five listening sessions are scheduled with two being devoted specifically to discussing forestry issues as follows:

Agriculture Listening Sessions
April 19 at 10 a.m. EDT – Bradley Co., Tri-State Exhibition Center, I-75 Exit 20
April 26 at 7 p.m. CDT – Weakley Co., Moore Farms, 2887 Paris Hwy. 54, Dresden
May 1 at 7 p.m. CDT – Coffee Co., Farm Bureau Insurance, 225 E. Main St., Manchester

Forestry Listening Sessions
May 3 at 7 p.m. CDT – Lawrence Co., Columbia State Community College Conference Room, 1620 Springer Rd., Lawrenceburg
May 15 at 7 p.m. CDT – Cumberland Co., Cumberland Co. Fairgrounds Multi-Purpose Room, 1398 Livingston Rd., Crossville

The agenda for the sessions include remarks by Commissioner Johnson and an overview of the Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program and the recently formed Agriculture and Forestry Economic Development Task Force. There will also be time for open discussion by participants.

More listening sessions will be planned for the fall to include a focus on other industry sectors.

About Daryl Phillips, CEcD

I am a professional economic developer. I presently work for communities and companies in developing and implementing workforce and economic development solutions as CEO of Phillips Economic Development Solutions (Phi EDS). Prior to September 2017, I was the economic development professional who served a community team of elected officials, business people, community leaders and dedicated stakeholders for economic development in Cheatham County, Tennessee (pop. 39,880) and its four towns. During my five-year tenure, I served the team as Cheatham County grew over 1,700 jobs, turned around population declines at the start of this decade into healthy population growth, increased tourism expenditures 20.3% and local tax revenue from tourism 25.4%, grew sales tax revenue 36%, focused on developing the local workforce and was recognized by SmartAsset as having the 9th highest Incoming Investment Index of all the 95 counties in Tennessee. I am a member of International Economic Development Council, Southern Economic Development Council, Tennessee Economic Development Council and International Council of Shopping Centers. I have earned the designation of Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) from International Economic Development Council (IEDC), the Economic Development Finance Professional (EDFP) certification from National Development Council and hold a Master of Business Administration from Tennessee Technological University.
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