2019 Policy Development Backgrounders

Imitation Meat Products

Several states have passed legislation mandating the way food products which imitate traditional ag products are labeled. There was legislation drafted pertaining to the use of term “meat” on products plant based or produced in a lab, but no action was taken.

Grain Grading

During last year’s harvest season, Farm Bureau heard concerns from farmers that grain dealers were using grain quality unfairly to dock prices on contracted and uncontracted grain.

State Inspected Slaughter Facilities

Retail meat sales present a unique and increasingly popular niche which livestock producers are filling. Farmers accessibility to these facilities is not always ideal with some driving over 100 miles one-way to deliver to their retail processor.

Lemon Law for Farm Equipment

Some states have lemon laws pertaining to farm equipment and machinery not conforming to the express warranties offered by the manufacturer. There is interest in applying Tennessee’s lemon law on passenger motor vehicles to farm equipment and machinery.

Homestead Exemption

State legislation filed in 2019 would have significantly raised the homestead exemption and included language pertaining to farm property. Homestead exemptions usually protect a certain amount of equity held in a home and the value varies state to state.

Proposed State Constitutional Amendment Prohibiting a State Property Tax

In the 2019 legislative session, legislation filed would set into motion the process of amending the State Constitution to prevent the state from collecting a state property tax on individuals.

Tobacco Age Limit: 18 to 21

In 2019, several bills were filed in Tennessee to increase the age to legally purchase and use tobacco products to 21 years old. The legislation would have included the purchase and use of nicotine vaping products.


The 2018 Farm Bill amended the Controlled Substances Act and removed hemp and hemp seeds from federal authority from products containing THC levels not greater than 0.3%. However, issues remain.

Medical Marijuana

There are now thirty-four states which have some form of medical marijuana allowed. There has been legislation from members of both political parties in recent years in Tennessee to allow for medical marijuana.

Raw Milk Cow Share Regulations

Retail sale of unpasteurized milk (also known as raw milk) in Tennessee is illegal, however a consumer can access raw milk through purchasing a portion of the cow/cows in which they intend to consume the raw milk from a “cow share.”

UTK/UTIA Unification

The UT Board of Trustees recently voted to approve a resolution to unify the UTIA and UT Knoxville – this change was effective July 1. It is expected to raise the ranking of the new unified UTK in the National Science Foundation (NSF) rankings of research institutions.

Rural Healthcare

Access to healthcare services is an important necessity, especially in times of emergency. Distance from emergency services can mean the difference between life and death. Across the country, there is a trend of rural hospitals closing because of financial pressures.

Constitutional Carry

Tennessee allows handgun carry permit holders to store loaded firearms in vehicles no matter where they are parked. The discussion of “Constitutional Carry” could cause a collision of interests between property rights and second amendment rights.