2015 Policy Development Backgrounders

Avian Influenza, Corn Check-off, Fuel Tax Increase, In-State Tuition for Undocumented Students, Long Term Funding of Extension and Agriculture Research, Rural Internet Services, Tennessee Nutrient Reduction Strategy, Weight Limits on Country Roads

Avian Influenza

With confirmed cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in the U.S., the time is now for discussions about how agriculture deals with a devastating issue. The virus could be catastrophic for the Southeast and Tennessee’s poultry industry.

Corn Check-off

A number of farmers are highlighting the need for a state corn check-off. There is an active check-off nationally for soybeans, cotton, pork, dairy and beef. These commodities have benefited from the promotion, production research and product research.

Fuel Tax Increase

The state’s highways and roads plays a very pivotal role in moving agricultural goods from one place to another. Road building costs continue to rise with flat revenues. A major issue for legislators is how to fund these road projects and keep them maintained.

In-State Tuition for Undocumented Students

In Tennessee, there are children who are not legal citizens because they were born out of country and relocated to the U.S. at a very young age. They are eligible to attend a state university, but because of their legal status, must pay out-of-state tuition.

Long Term Funding of Extension and Agriculture Research

Extension and agricultural research all touch the heart of rural Tennessee. Traditional funding sources are making reductions and difficult spending decisions by prioritizing. Funding for these areas are not always prioritized near the top.

Rural Internet Services

There continues to be a growing demand for moderate internet speed access in the agricultural sector. Many areas across Tennessee still lack these options in order to make necessary and economically prudent upgrades.

Tennessee Nutrient Reduction Strategy

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation released a strategy for reducing nutrients into streams. Some concerns for agriculture are the methodology used to determine agriculture’s contribution and methods to measure success for agriculture.

Weight Limits on County Roads

Amendments added to legislation would disallow counties from lowering weight limits on county roads below the state minimum of 80,000 lbs. Farm and forestry trucks have historically loaded to these limits to keep transportation efficient, economical and legal.