2018 Policy Development Backgrounders


Blockchain is a public list of transactions held on a decentralized set of computers, much like the internet is a group of interconnected computer networks. This technology is already being used in food safety to pinpoint a source of contamination quickly and efficiently.

County Attempts to Regulate Ag Practices

County governments have no regulatory authority over agriculture and cannot use zoning as a way to accomplish regulations. Some counties have ignored the state law and adopted zoning ordinances pertaining to agriculture, often targeting livestock operations.


Legislation abolishing annexation by ordinance was passed in 2014. A critical provision in the law specified land in agricultural use may only be annexed with consent of the farm owner regardless of the method of annexation.


Governor Bill Haslam and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) have established an effort to develop a water plan for the state. The TN H20 steering committee is charged with submitting the report to the governor by October 2018.

Online Sales Tax

The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled states may require online retailers to collect sales tax. In the last legislative session there was much discussion about the process and how to use the additional revenue resulting in online sales tax collections.

Lab Grown Meat

For years scientists at startup and established food companies have been working to develop a meat substitute in labs that looks and tastes just like meat from livestock. Once perfected, lab grown meat could be a huge disruptor to the current livestock sector.

Sustainability Projects in the Supply Chain

The retail sector is becoming more involved in the production practices of farmers. This trend will only increase, and farming practices of the future could be dictated by the retail sector.

Veterinary Technician or Veterinary Nurse

In 2018, legislation was filed to change the name of the profession traditionally known as “Veterinary Technician” to “Veterinary Nurse.” Proponents believe this would attract more people into an industry with a growing need for these professionals.