State Rep. David Hawk and State Sen. Steve Southerland announced that Lost Mountain Meats in Greene County is among 17 Tennessee businesses set to receive an Agriculture Enterprise Fund grant.
The $18,750 grant is part of an incentive program that supports job creation and economic development by facilitating agricultural development in Tennessee, according to a news release.
“We are very pleased that this grant will benefit one of our local Greene County companies,” said Southerland, a Republican from Morristown. “Agriculture is a critical part of our economy. It is very important that we continue to support and promote our agricultural businesses as part of our efforts to increase job opportunities in Tennessee, especially as our state recovers from the effects of the pandemic.”
The Agriculture Enterprise Fund grant program supports starting or expanding agricultural food and forestry businesses in Tennessee that demonstrate a strong potential for impact on local farm income, access to markets, increased capacity or agricultural innovation, according to the news release.
“This grant award for Lost Mountain Meats is great news for Greene County and our agriculture industry,” said Hawk, a Republican from Greeneville. “These types of businesses drive our local and statewide economies, and I appreciate this funding because it will ensure they have critical resources during our ongoing recovery from the pandemic to remain successful and create new jobs for our citizens.”
The grants also support Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee’s priorities in distressed counties, the news release said.
“Any way we can support economic development and job creation is a win for families, their communities, and the state,” Lee said. “TDA continues to be responsive to the needs of farmers and foresters who are, in turn, responsive to consumer demand. For many of these businesses, AEF grants mean they will secure greater access to consumer markets which goes a long way to strengthen the economy.”
This round of Agriculture Enterprise Fund grants included awards to 10 meat processing facilities, the most in the history of the program, said Department of Agriculture Commissioner Charlie Hatcher.
“There is an interest for more meat processing capacity due to increased consumer demand across the state and nation,” Hatcher said. “We’re proud to strategically support impactful businesses that are critical to keeping the food, fiber, and fuel supply chain strong throughout Tennessee.”
AEF grant recipients and projects announced were:
- A&H Custom Meat and Processing, Van Buren County – USDA-Inspected Meat Processing
- Bone Cave Timber, Van Buren County – Forest Products
- Clark Hardwoods, Houston County – Forest Products
- Cody Todd Farms, Henderson County – USDA-Inspected Meat Processing
- Fayette Packing Company, Fayette County – USDA-Inspected Meat Processing
- J&M Sawmill & Lumber, Jackson County – Forest Products
- Lightfoot Farm Market & Processing, Shelby County – Retail-Exempt Cut Shop
- Lost Mountain Meats, Greene County – Custom Meat Processing
- Mason Processing, Tipton County – Custom Meat Processing
- Miller Brother’s Sawmill, Carter County – Forest Products
- North American Caviar, Henry County – Asian Carp Processing
- Old Lincoln Meat Company, Lincoln County – Custom Meat Processing
- Potts Meats, Bedford County – USDA-Inspected Meat Processing
- Southern Natural Foods, Henderson County – USDA-Inspected Meat Processing
- Twine String Farms, Marshall County – USDA-Inspected Meat Processing
- Volner Sawmill, Decatur County – Forest Products
- White County Lumber Company, White County – Forest Products
The custom meat processing projects will process livestock for the exclusive use of the livestock owners. Like a retail exempt plant, the facilities will still be subject to periodic, risk-based inspection. USDA-inspected projects process meat for retail sale and are required to have an inspector on site during this type of service.
In total, the Agriculture Enterprise Fund has awarded nearly $4.3 million in funding to Tennessee businesses, leveraging more than $59 million in agriculture and forest-product economic development since the program’s launch in 2017.