NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Small farmers are on the rise in Tennessee.
State and local leaders said that’s why it’s especially important to talk about helping this growing part of the agriculture industry that’s feeding our communities.
Tennessee State University hosted the Small Farm Expo Wednesday.
TSU leaders said its about bringing together farmers, state/local leaders, and educators.
They said TSU educators want to tailor their research towards the needs of small farmers.
Officials said small farmers are the majority in Tennessee, and urban agriculture is on the rise as people in places like Nashville want more locally produced products.
“In recent years it became more important because of the new trend of urban agriculture as people who live in Memphis or Nashville know very much. The public is very conscious and more focused on eating locally produced products and the organics,” said TSU Dean of Agriculture and Consumer Sciences Dr. Chandra Reddy. “We’re trying to work with them and help them. Because, small farmers are very innovative. They don’t have large scale acreage. They’re not so much interested in producing high quantities of products. They want quality in niche markets and profitability.”
The expo had workshops on urban agriculture, hemp research, and using drones in farming.
“Even though the rest of the world and the rest of the nation is really undergoing great economic growth, agriculture is in a bad situation. We’ve got the historic flooding that took place along the Mississippi river, we’ve got the trade wars that’s really impacted commodity prices so it’s tough right now for farmers so for this, this gives them hope,” said TN Commissioner of Agriculture Charlie Hatcher.
He said small farmers can help communities that are struggling in rural and urban areas.
“Every small farmer or small forester that’s in the ag and forestry business can add a job or two jobs and three jobs to that community and that’s absolutely critical that we have those good paying jobs in those areas,” said Hatcher.