NASHVILLE — Gov. Bill Lee and Agriculture Commissioner Charlie Hatcher, D.V.M. announced 15 businesses, including four from the Upper Cumberland, will benefit from the latest round of Agricultural Enterprise Fund (AEF) awards.
“This incentive program doesn’t just benefit the agricultural and forestry businesses that take part,” Commissioner Hatcher said. “We are proud to see that the AEF has made an economic impact of more than $100 million for our state since we first began awarding these grants five year ago.”
AEF is a program that incentivizes new or expanding agricultural, food, and forestry businesses in Tennessee and supports Lee’s priorities of job creation and economic growth in rural areas. Awards are made to those who demonstrate a potential for measurable impact on local farm income, access to markets, increased capacity or agricultural innovation.
One recipient will use the funds to purchase equipment for a new community kitchen and business development center in Wilson County.
“The Lebanon Restaurant Residency Kitchen and Bar incubator will create a new source of commerce for farmers,” Kim Parks, Executive Director of Historic Lebanon Tomorrow said. “It will house restaurateurs in training who need local products, as well as a communal kitchen for micro-producers such as bread makers and pastry chefs, and a space to sell the goods to the public.”
AEF grant recipients and projects announced include:
- Watson Sawmill LLC, Clay County – Forest Products
- Piggs Processing, Overton County – Meat Processing
- JL Bryant Lumber LLC, Pickett County – Forest Products
- A & H Custom Meat and Processing, Van Buren County – Meat Processing
- B & B Sawmill LLC, Henderson County – Forest Products
- Laurel Hill Processing LLC, Henry County – Meat Processing
- Thompson Transport, Franklin County – Forest Products
- Memphis Kitchen Co-Op LLC, Madison County – Community Kitchen
- Flying Panda Specialty Beverage Company, Morgan County – Craft Alcohol
- Miller Brothers Sawmill & Logging, Carter County – Forest Products
- Roaring Fork Meats, Greene County – Meat Processing
- Shane Hyatt Logging, Lawrence County – Forest Products
- SPECCX LLC, Dickson County – Ag Tech
- Clark Hardwoods LLC, Houston County – Forest Products
- Historic Lebanon Tomorrow Inc., Wilson County – Community Kitchen
In total, the Agricultural Enterprise Fund has awarded more than $7.5 million in funding to Tennessee businesses, leveraging nearly $105 million in agriculture and forest-product economic development since the program’s launch. You will find more information about AEF at www.tn.gov/agriculture/businesses/aef.html or by emailing Will Freeman at firstname.lastname@example.org.