TDA Alerts Livestock Producers to Possible Scam

See message below from the Tennessee Department of Ag.  Some Knox County Cattlemen have received these phone calls as well!

NASHVILLE — The Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA) is warning livestock producers about a potential scam.

Several Tennessee cattle farmers have recently been contacted by a person or persons indicating they want to buy cattle. The supposed buyer reaches out via text, claiming that a cashier’s check will be sent as payment with money added for shipping, and that the seller should contact the buyer once the payment is received. If the seller indicates they won’t accept a cashier’s check, the conversation ends.

While a cashier’s check is a standard method of payment and typically safe to deposit, sellers should first contact the financial institution where the check is drawn to ensure its validity. There may be insufficient funds associated with the transaction, or the check itself may be counterfeit. To TDA’s knowledge, no Tennessee producers have fallen victim.

“Although at this time it appears that no crime has been committed, we want farmers to be cautious,” Agricultural Crime Unit Captain Greg Whitehead said. “This person appears to be targeting seedstock producers who advertised through reputable agriculture publications. Farmers have avoided being caught up in a possible scam because they’ve alerted each other, their local Extension office, and TDA.”

Good practices to prevent being scammed include researching the potential buyer online before agreeing to a transaction and resisting pressure to act immediately on a sale or purchase. Consumers should be wary of offers to pay over the purchase price, even if there seems to be a valid reason. This tactic is common in check cashing scams.

If you suspect a crime has been committed, please contact the Agricultural Crime Unit at 844-AG-CRIME (844-242-7463) or

Hay Equipment Checkpoints for Optimal Drying

The primary purpose of our haymaking equipment is to dry hay to the optimum moisture for storage, then package densely. This winter, our

shop has been a staging ground for improved hay drying.

The mower conditioner, both rakes and tedder have all been rotating through our shop to be sure they are ready to not only function properly

Uneven roll wear can result in poor conditioning across the length of the rolls. Photo provided by Jason Hartschuh.

but to make sure hay dries as fast as possible. It is amazing how little adjustments in the shop can save a couple of much-needed hours of drying time. Your operator’s manual will have the proper adjustments for your machine. Just as we always start with the mower for winter repairs, let’s start there on best maintenance practices to improve hay drying.

Mower checklist

Improved hay drying starts at the cutter bar. When the crop is cut ragged with lots of long plant material still attached, this material is often ripped loose by the rake and ends up creating wet spots in windrows. The primary winter service to prevent this is to make sure knives are sharp and not dragging on the cutter bar when spinning. This is also a good time to check all gear boxes and, on disc mower conditioners, that cutting modules are not worn to the point of becoming out of time. Changing cutting speed by slowing down can improve the machine’s ability to cut the entire crop and not leave long stems attached. Continue reading

“If you have high ash content in your forages, you’re feeding dirt”

According to Ted Wiseman, Ohio State University Extension Educator in Perry County, “If you have high ash content in your forages, you’re feeding dirt.” And, the feed conversion on dirt is not good!

During the second session of the 2020 Ohio Beef Cattle Nutrition and Management School that was hosted by the Ohio State University Extension Beef Team, Wiseman discussed the value of analyzing the nutrient content of forages. Included in that presentation was an explanation regarding ash content, what it results from, and why it’s a concern. In this brief excerpt from his presentation, he explains, in part, how 5 pounds of a forage with 18% ash content is equivalent to feeding a pound of dirt to the animal, and offers some thoughts on preventing high ash content in our forages.


Vegetable Seeds Are the New Toilet Paper

Seeds have been flying off the “shelves” of online stores.

Got seeds?

Seed sellers across North America have been overwhelmed by skyrocketing demand in recent weeks as home gardeners are preparing to grow their own vegetables in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Starting around March 16, online seed stores saw a huge spike in orders for vegetable seeds, as fears emerged that the pandemic could threaten food security.

The increase in demand was so dramatic for Wayne Gale and his Canada-based business, Stokes Seeds, that they temporarily closed down their online store for home gardeners, in order to ensure they could fill all of their orders for commercial growers. Gale’s business received around 1,000 orders from home gardeners during the weekend before March 16, a period of time it would usually receive around 350 such orders. “And this is not our peak season. Usually our peak season is the second week of February,” Gale says.

Sellers say that many of their new customers are likely new to the world of gardening, and are cooped up in their homes with a lot of time on their hands. While seed growers think any time is a good time to start growing your own food, they say concerns over the food supply are probably driving a lot of the current interest. Continue reading

Office Closure

As of Tuesday, March 17 at 5 p.m., our office is CLOSED until further notice. While our office is closed, our staff will continue to work diligently to serve Knox County.

Staff members can be reached at 740-397-0401 or by their email (listed below)

4-H Questions

Andrea Rees-

Jana Mussard-

Agriculture Questions

 John Barker-

Sabrina Schirtzinger-

General Office

Sarah Chain –

Miranda McElroy-


Tanner Cooper-Risser –