Tennessee launches farmer network

By Susanne Retka Schill
Web exclusive posted July 25, 2008 at 10:05 a.m. CST

A new network for Tennessee farmers interested in alternative crops for biofuels and biobased products has scheduled meetings in the next two weeks. The 25Farmer Network is a program organized by AgBioworks, an initiative of the Memphis Bioworks Foundation and BioDimensions, a Memphis, Tenn.-based consulting group that is working with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture on the outreach.

AgBioworks is contracting with farmers in a renewable, one-year contract, to produce up to five acres of new crops for a guaranteed base reimbursement. Farmers also agree to attend one national conference with an AgBioworks representative and attend three, one-day training workshops next winter. In exchange, AgBioworks will support members of the 25Farmer Network with business development and leadership training. The organization will also provide access to companies seeking growers and facilitate the development of new farmer-based businesses.

A series of informative meetings across western Tennessee has been scheduled to introduce the program to farmers:
  • July 29 at the University of Tennessee Experiment Station in Jackson, Tenn.

  • Aug. 6 at Agricenter International in Memphis

  • Aug. 12 at the Dyer County Extension Office in Dyersburg, Tenn.

  • For more information about the program visit http://www.agbioworks.org/.