Sen. Niceley Gives Keynote Speech at TSU Small Farm Expo Luncheon to “Celebrate the Success of Our Small Farms”

On Wednesday, State Senator Frank Niceley (R-Strawberry Plains) gave a keynote speech at Tennessee State University’s (TSU) Fifteenth Annual Small Farm Expo and Small Farmer of the Year Awards Program luncheon. Small farmers from across Tennessee, county agents, state dignitaries and other officials attended this year’s program themed, “Celebrating the Success of Our Small Farms.”

Niceley spoke about the increasing opportunities for small farms in Tennessee and legislation the General Assembly has passed to benefit small farmers. 

“This is an exciting time for small farmers in Tennessee,” said Niceley. “With farm-to-table restaurants becoming more and more popular throughout Tennessee and surrounding states, there are many new growth opportunities for small farms.”

“Tennessee has a governor and legislature that are proud to be friendly to small farmers,” continued Niceley. “And we have accomplished a lot over the years by working with small farmers and passing legislation to help small farms grow.” 

Legislation passed by the General Assembly to help small farmers include:

  • The Community Gardening Act of 2017, sponsored by Senator Niceley, which that allows for the urban gardening of honey bees. Since 1987, there is no longer a feral population of honey bees in Tennessee; therefore, pollination relies solely on the managed colonies. Due to this decline, to ensure the survival of colonies, beekeepers must monitor their colonies for pesticides, treat diseases, and use local, acclimated stock when an issue arises to breed for resistant bees.
  • Also approved in 2017 was a law to help encourage the growing and selling of Tennessee-based agricultural products. The law exempts small food manufacturers, or domestic kitchens, from licensing and inspection if they meet certain criteria. The “eat locally produced food” movement has encouraged many individuals to produce food items that were not economically feasible previously.  The businesses affected are typically very small start-up companies that would be encouraged to grow without unnecessary fees.
  • Another law passed by the General Assembly in 2009, sponsored by Niceley, legalized the use of cow-shares to consume and sell raw milk to partial owners of a cow. This law greatly benefited small farms by opening them up to a new business market.

“It’s an honor to speak to so many small farmers and supporters of small farming in Tennessee. Farming is an extremely important industry in our state, and I look forward to continuing to work with TSU’s agriculture program to help provide more opportunities to small farms in Tennessee,” concluded Niceley.

Source: The Office of Sen. Frank Nicely