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Common Ground

Photo of Chancellor Cross

Students are back and campus is bustling. It's energizing to see young people returning to classes in both CASNR and CVM, and their enthusiasm is energizing.

Of course, many of our UTIA employees, friends, supporters, and alumni aren't here on campus, and we don't want you to miss all this excitement. Make plans now to join us for Ag Day on Saturday, September 30, and you, too, can renew your school spirit and college pride. Ag Day is the largest on-campus UTIA event and is a great opportunity to learn about our new programs; meet with our faculty and staff; and reconnect with retirees, former classmates, and industry leaders. Not to mention the chance to enjoy some great food and fun!

Information about Ag Day is available at tiny.utk.edu/AgDay. There you also will find a link to purchase tickets to watch the Vols take on the Georgia Bulldogs. Contact Robin Haefs at 865-974-1928 or rhaefs@tennessee.edu for a unique purchasing password. Ag Day festivities will begin at 11 a.m.

Regrettably, one of our strongest supporters won't be at Ag Day this year. Mr. Joe Pearson, chief administrative officer for the Tennessee Farm Bureau and a dedicated and loyal supporter of UTIA, passed away on August 30. Joe received degrees in animal husbandry and animal science from CASNR. He served on numerous committees and advisory councils, and seldom missed an Ag Day gathering. Joe will be sorely missed by many across the entire state. But his smile, his volunteer spirit, and his selfless dedication to Tennessee agriculture and the Institute will be remembered for a long time.

Another great friend we will miss, especially at 4-H Congress, is Murray Miles. Murray passed away September 13 and will be remembered not only as a passionate supporter of 4-H, but also Tennessee agriculture. And we will always have the memories of his stirring rendition of "God Bless America" at the close of each Congress. We were lucky to have known him.


P.S. Be sure to follow me and the latest Institute developments on Twitter at @UTIAChancellor.

Photo of 4-H Level II winners

An Outstanding Year for UTIA Advancement
$21 Million Raised Impacts Students,
Programs, Mission

UTIA has had a banner year in private donations. This past year alumni and friends have invested more than $21 million into our mission of research, teaching, and outreach. This support means more scholarships, better equipment, and enhancements in every program area. Over the next several months, we will be sharing where donor dollars go and the impacts they create.

Graph of dollars raised to support UTIA

Follow along so you are better equipped to share with others why donating to the UT Institute of Agriculture is a sound investment for you personally and an investment in the Institute's future.

Tennessee Is in the Spotlight at the
2017 Sunbelt Expo

Sunbelt medallion

Tennessee is in the spotlight—as the 2017 Spotlight State—at the fortieth annual Sunbelt Agricultural Expo in Moultrie, Georgia.

The Sunbelt Agricultural Expo is an agricultural based trade show known as North America's Premier Farm Show. Drawing more than 80,000 visitors every year, the Expo includes more than 1,200 exhibitors showcasing the latest in farming technology on a 600-acre working research farm. This year's Expo runs October 17-19.

Tennessee invites Sunbelt guests to experience "The Soundtrack of America—Made in Tennessee" at this year's Spotlight State Exhibit. The exhibit will showcase the state's cultural diversity, agricultural history, and the many wonderful places and experiences offered to residents and visitors alike.

UTIA International Programs Showcase Ahead

Lady in her vegetable plot

UTIA will host the second annual International Programs Showcase on September 28 in Hollingsworth Auditorium. This event, which takes place from 8:15 a.m. through 12:30 p.m., highlights the international activities of UTIA faculty, students, and alumni. Breakfast and lunch will be provided for those who register for the free event. For the morning's complete schedule and to register, visit tiny.utk.edu/utia/intl_showcase.

Cambodia Research Activities Expand

Researcher holding a bat and taking acoustic measurements

From efforts in sustainable intensification to agro-ecological services provided by cave-roosting bats, UTIA researchers have been frequenting Cambodia, a country located in Southeast Asia.

UTIA-Cambodia partnerships began in early 2016 through a collaboration with Penn State University. Since then, partnerships and research activities have been ongoing and expanding. This past summer, a group of UTIA researchers traveled to Cambodia to begin bat research.

The project, "Initial exploration of the pest suppression, organic fertilizer, and protein benefits provided by cave-roosting bats in Cambodian agroecosystems," was partly funded by a UTIA Global Natural Resource Issues Seed Grant. Through partnerships with other US land-grant universities and Cambodian universities and institutions, UTIA research involvement in Cambodia is continuing to grow, while also uniquely integrating food production and wildlife conservation perspectives. Click to read more.

In Franklin County, Meet Ed Burns
UT Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Agent III

Photo of Bob Hayes

What do you do as an Extension agent?

That may depend on who you are talking to! My job description says I am responsible for planning, disseminating, and evaluating agriculture educational programming to the appropriate citizens of Franklin County; however, any Extension agent, regardless of their area of responsibility, will tell you their job description does not begin to tell all that they do!

How long have you been with UT Extension?

Thirty-eight years, starting in Warren County as a 4-H agent in 1977, then vocational agriculture in Moore County a couple of years. I returned to UT Extension in Rhea County in 1982 doing 4-H work until moving to adult agriculture and leader in 1988, transferring to Franklin County in 1992 with responsibilities in adult agriculture and community resource development.

What is the best part of your job?

People! Extension is one of those unique jobs that allows you to become intertwined with the lives of so many others, which any Extension worker will tell you can be the most challenging part of their work. The rewards, regardless of the accolades, of helping folks cross life's hurdles en route to their dreams is one of the most gratifying of emotions and definitely outweighs any of the downsides of human inadequacies!

Any other thoughts?

I’m looking forward to retirement, which begins November 1. The number one question I seem to get these days is, "What are you going to do when you retire?" I do not know that you can truly escape Extension life—way too many friends! For forty years, I have planned my personal life around the lives of others. I am looking forward for others to plan their activities around me!

Cho Selected as Baker Center Fellow

The Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics is pleased to announce the selection of professor Seong-Hoon Cho as a fellow at the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy. The Center's energy and environmental policy program will draw upon Cho's considerable experience and expertise as a natural resource and environmental economist.

Photo of Robert Burns

In Memoriam

Photo of a lily

Murray Miles served as a Farm Bureau executive for 30 years, and was host of the television show "Farm Digest" which aired on WSMV-TV. A great supporter of 4-H and UTIA, he also earned his BS in Agronomy from UT.

Joe Pearson, Tennessee Farm Bureau chief administrative officer and member of its leadership team for many years. Pearson was a strong supporter and friend of UTIA. He also was a UT graduate, earning a BS and MS in Animal Science.

Wendy Whiteaker, Family and Consumer Sciences agent in White County. Friends say she was born to be an Extension agent. Raised on a farm, she gained extensive knowledge from her dad, mom, and the many farmers and families she knew. In her teens, she was involved in many 4-H programs.

Alan Windham's Twitter Feed Among Top 25

Great news about Alan Windham, professor in the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology and faculty member of the UT Soil, Plant and Pest Center. His @UTPlantDoc Twitter account is the only land-grant representative among the top 25 feeds in hydroponics to follow.

The list was compiled by Maximum Yield magazine. For more than eighteen years, Maximum Yield has been the industry leader of information on controlled-environment gardening for growing professionals around the world.

Photo of 4-H Level II winners


Common Ground is published monthly by the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture. Send comments and suggestions to commonground@tennessee.edu. The University of Tennessee is an EEO/AA/Title VI/Title IX/Section 504/ADA/ADEA institution in the provision of its education and employment programs and services. All qualified applicants will receive equal consideration for employment without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, pregnancy, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, physical or mental disability, or covered veteran status.

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