April 07, 2017
A bill that would allow counties to establish agriculture authorities for the creation and administration of agriculture centers unanimously passed the Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee Thursday.
SB 345 by Sen. Tim Melson, R-Florence, is aimed at clearing the way for a proposed 10,000-seat agriculture center near Florence. Supporters of the center are looking to use Tennessee Valley Authority in-lieu-of-tax money and a gas tax to secure a USDA loan for the complex.
Melson’s bill provides guidelines for establishing county agriculture authorities to promote agribusinesses, farms and commodities as well as workforce development and economic development.
SB 345 was amended to delete language that would have allowed agriculture authorities to exercise eminent domain to acquire property.
A companion bill, HB 450 by Rep. Lynn Greer, R-Rogersville, was referred from the House County and Municipal Government Committee to the House Agriculture and Forestry Committee.
The Federation supports promotion of agriculture but defers to county Federations regarding the establishment and funding of individual centers.