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Rural Routes

In This Issue

Commissioner's Message

New Rules for Dicamba

Tree Damage

Harrison Named New Asst. Commissioner

The Pick Tennessee Way to Watch the Solar Eclipse

County Fair Time in TN


Aug. 23 - Sept. 2

TN Walking Horse Nt'l Celebration, Shelbyville

Sept. 2 - 10

TN Soybean Festival, Martin

Sept. 6

West TN Research & Education Center Cotton Tour, Jackson

Sept. 8 - 17

Tennessee State Fair, Nashville

Sept. 9

Fayette County Cotton Festival, Somerville

Sept. 23 - 24

Music & Molasses Arts and Crafts Festival, Nashville

Sept. 28

Middle TN Shooting Hunger Sporting Clays Shoot, Nashville



From Commissioner
Jai Templeton:

Agriculture today is dependent more than ever on new and evolving technologies. As many of you may have already heard, the technologies for dicamba-resistant crops and new formulations of dicamba spray have been a great help to many farmers while also resulting in cases of suspected off-target movement of some spray.

In light of this issue, we have taken measures to protect those who stand to be negatively impacted by off-target movement of dicamba products while also allowing those farmers who have invested in products designed for their crops to continue to use appropriate herbicides responsibly.

I am confident we can address this issue as we have in other cases to ensure the safe and effective use of these tools. Along with new rules, which you can find on the dicamba resources page on our website, we are forming a working group representative of stakeholders to help us determine the best path forward going into the next year.

In the meantime, we thank producers for their cooperation with these new measures and for all the hard work and effort put into feeding and clothing the world.


New Rules for Dicamba Use

In response to primarily farmer-to- farmer complaints currently under investigation by TDA of suspected dicamba related damage on cropland, TDA is taking measures to mitigate the risk of drift of herbicides containing dicamba.

In accordance with new rules filed with the Secretary of State:

  • Anyone applying dicamba products must be certified as a private applicator or licensed as a pest control operator in the category of Agricultural Pest Control (AGE), and is required to keep records for such applications.
  • The use of older formulations of dicamba products for the remainder of this agricultural growing season is prohibited.
  • To minimize the potential for off-target movement of the product due to temperature inversion, dicamba may only be applied from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the respective time zone for the location of application.
  • Applying dicamba over the top of cotton after first bloom is prohibited.

Dicamba is a broad-spectrum herbicide. Products containing dicamba have been used for household and commercial weed control for decades.

TDA is working to ensure an appropriate and scientifically-grounded response to an increase in complaints of possible dicamba drift. The department has focused staffing and resources to respond to those complaints quickly and efficiently. Furthermore, the department is engaged in ongoing discussions with producers, the University of Tennessee, manufacturers, other state and federal agencies and ag industry representatives to address this issue.

State and federal laws mandate applicators strictly follow label directions and consider the weather and potential for temperature inversions when applying any herbicide. Any suspected misapplication should be reported immediately to TDA at 800-628-2631 or 615-837-5148. The department will take appropriate enforcement action for any misapplication, including but not limited to suspension or revocation of a certificate and state penalties up to $1,500 per violation, in addition to federal penalties and possible criminal prosecution.

To assist producers and others who have questions, TDA has developed a dicamba resources webpage with links to educational information, a complete listing of approved dicamba products and the new rules.

The Consumer and Industry Services Division (CIS) of the Tennessee Department of Agriculture monitors a diverse range of materials, products and services to assure quality, consumer protection, public safety and a fair marketplace.

Caterpillar and Drought Leading to Tree Damage

If your trees look to be struggling this summer, it could be due to caterpillar damage or a previous drought.

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry has received numerous reports of oak defoliation in McNairy, Benton, Carroll, and Hardeman Counties and has identified the cause of the defoliation as high numbers of variable oakleaf caterpillar and yellownecked caterpillar. The tree species impacted are varieties of red oak, white oak, elm, and beech.

Both insects are common in the eastern forests and their populations have a natural ebb and flow. Large scale control measures are generally unnecessary but homeowners can use pesticides that are labeled for these pests on individual trees of high value.

In addition to the caterpillar damage, symptoms from last year’s drought and previous droughts have also been observed. This has impacted hackberries, bald cypress and willow trees. Drought stress symptoms range from browning of leaves to dieback.


Harrison Named New Assistant Commissioner

With more than 30 years of experience promoting and leading in agriculture, Wilson County native Keith Harrison has taken on the role of Assistant Commissioner for the Consumer and Industry Services division at TDA.

"Keith’s roots are in agriculture," Commissioner Jai Templeton said. "From his professional experience to his personal life as a farmer, Keith has extensive agricultural knowledge and has developed strong relationships, respect and credibility in the ag community. I am confident he will be a staunch defender of consumer protections while ensuring a positive environment for business development."

Since 2001, Harrison has put his skills and experience to work for the Tennessee Farmers Cooperative, headquartered in La Vergne, Tenn. From marketing to public outreach, to management of and recruitment for numerous corporate and educational events, Harrison excelled in a variety of roles during his tenure with the Co-op. This appointment marks Harrison's return to TDA. He served in the Market Development division from 1984 until 2000, working his way up from an agricultural marketing specialist to assistant marketing director to ultimately, the marketing director. Harrison was instrumental in development of the Pick Tennessee Products and Ag Tag campaigns, which remain hallmarks of TDA’s public outreach today.

"Agriculture is my passion and I am truly humbled to be asked to serve in this capacity," Harrison said. "I am looking forward to the opportunity to work with the Consumer and Industry Services division team members to build on their successes."

Harrison is very active in the community, currently serving or having served in leadership positions with the Tennessee Council of Cooperatives, Farm Animal Care Coalition of Tennessee, Farm and Forest Families of Tennessee, National Agri-Marketing Association, American Feed Industry Association, Cooperative Research Farms, Middle Tennessee Ag Club, Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association, UT Institute of Agriculture Alumni Council and Wilson County's UT Alumni chapter, Leadership Wilson, as well as Wilson County's Agricultural Hall of Fame board, Fair board, Farm Services Agency, Farm Bureau and Livestock Association. Harrison has also chaired the Watertown High School Scholarship Fund committee and has devoted his time to other organizations benefiting the state and agricultural endeavors.

Harrison's predecessor, Jimmy Hopper, recently retired after 32 years of leadership with TDA.

The Pick Tennessee Way to Watch the Solar Eclipse

The first total solar eclipse to sweep across the United States in 99 years is just days away.

This once in a lifetime event will occur on August 21 and several Middle Tennessee cities are in the direct path.

Solar eclipse viewing events are being held in numerous locations including many area farms and wineries.

Check the and for information about viewing locations and ways to celebrate the event with your own Pick Tennessee Products.

It's Fair Time in Tennessee

Fairs are more than just a tradition in Tennessee communities. They provide educational opportunities for children, entertainment for families and community involvement.

Agriculture has always played a major role in fairs. From livestock shows to pie baking contests, ag is a significant part of what makes them great.

Check out the Tennessee Association of Fairs website to find the county fair closest to you. We love to see your fair photos here at TDA. Share them with us at and they may show up on our Facebook page.

Ellington Agricultural Center | 440 Hogan Road | Nashville, TN 37220