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Common Ground

It's not very often you have the opportunity to engage the entire population of a state in thinking about the importance of agriculture. But that's exactly what the leadership of Tennessee plans to do with a new campaign called "TN Magic Moments."

Based on Governor Bill Haslam's ten-year strategic rural challenge, TN Magic Moments is designed to reach the non-agricultural audience with an important thought—imagine your life without agriculture. Think of a wedding, a musical performance, the health of your pet, even football Saturday in Tennessee, without agriculture's indelible footprint. It really is hard to imagine.

You've received emails on how you can be a part of this exciting campaign. I hope all of us, as part of the UTIA family, will find a way to get involved. Whether it's sharing your Magic Moment on social media, taking the opportunity to speak to an organization, or putting a decal on your car—we all can help spread the magic of agriculture.

The campaign officially launches on Monday, October 26. Please plan on sharing your Magic Moment on that day (and beyond) with the message "There would be no magic without agriculture" and the hashtag #TNMAGICMOMENTS. Ask your family and friends to do the same.

Let's get ready to tell the agricultural story in a whole new way!

One other note, I want to thank chairperson Jessy Shanks and the Ag Day Committee for putting on a fantastic event this year. We've heard many positive comments on what a great day it was for UTIA. Great job to everyone involved!

Go Vols,

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

Telling the Agriculture Story in a New Way

There are moments that make up a life. Some are simple, others extraordinary. They touch our hearts and bring us together. And every day, Tennesseans share these moments through social media.

So here's something to think about: Would these moments be possible without agriculture? Picture your child's first baseball game without the wooden bat or glove. A Nashville song without a guitar. Even a high school, Vols, or Titans game without the turf or the football. Thanks to agriculture, we get to experience these "magic moments" every day.

This is the heart of a new statewide grassroots campaign that will launch next Monday. The goal of TN Magic Moments is to raise awareness about the importance of agriculture in all our lives—no matter where you live, who you are, or what you do.

How you can be a part of this exciting campaign? It's easy!

  • Share this intro to get the message out to all your followers.
  • Follow TN Magic Moments on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
  • Capture your magic moment and, on our official launch date Monday, October 26, share it on your social media with #TNMAGICMOMENTS and the message line "There is no magic without ag."
  • Visit the Magic Moments website, tnmagicmoments.com for more information.

UTIA Honors Ag Financial Specialist, Vet
& TN Farmer of the Year

One man keeps farm families in business, another protects human health through veterinary care, and the other has been raising crops and livestock for more than half a century.

The Institute presented awards at its Ag Day celebration earlier this month to three gentlemen who have made noteworthy contributions to UTIA, public health, and agriculture in Tennessee. More ...

Future BESS Lab Named in Professor Sterges' Honor

When professor Athan Sterges served on the UT faculty, the innovations that will exist in the laboratory bearing his name were not even yet dreamed of in science fiction.

The Athan J. Sterges Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science Learning and Innovation HUB is one step closer to reality thanks in part to the support of his family. A recognition ceremony held October 3 in conjunction with Ag Day celebrations officially named the future laboratory site in his honor More ...

Students Net $15K for Ideas on Sustainable Global Food Supply

Plant pathology master's student Shawn Butler, right, and agronomy master's student Austin Scott have ideas for innovative technologies to improve the sustainability of global food systems. Last year their first product, a Flex Roller Crimper, won $5,000 in startup funding from a UT pitch competition to advance student ideas for new entrepreneurial businesses. They used the award money for field testing of the patent-pending technology.

Now the two have placed in the top four in the Farm Bureau Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge, a national competition for food and agricultural businesses. Shawn and Austin received $15,000 for that win and will advance to the final round of the contest to be held in January. More ...

We're mighty proud of Shawn and Austin. Join us in congratulating them when you see them around the Institute.

Tending to the Human Needs in Veterinary Medicine

Elizabeth Strand, founder and director of Veterinary Social Work, is a guest columnist for the Dean's Column this month. Strand was recently named the College of Veterinary Medicine's All Creatures Great and Small Endowed Clinical Associate Professor in Veterinary Social Work.

In her column, she writes about the importance of tending to human needs for professionals engaged in veterinary medicine and the upcoming Veterinary Wellness and Social Work Summit, which the Veterinary Social Work program will co-host in Knoxville the first week in November.

Strand says that at the end of every leash or at the head of every herd is a person. Veterinarians are highly trained to address animal issues, but human beings are a whole other factor. So many times the human interactions have a negative impact on many facets of wellness for the veterinarian, so partnering with a profession whose targeted patient is the person can help veterinarians protect their own wellness while providing excellent medical care for the animals they protect and heal. More ...

Institute Announces 'All Vol Cheese' for Sale
by CASNR Students

Some future food scientists are saying "cheese" these days, and it has nothing to do with having their photo taken.

The College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources has introduced a product line called "All Vol Cheese" that is available for purchase. Four flavors are offered: Checkerboard Mild Cheddar, Game Day Sharp Cheddar, Smokey's Smoked Gouda, and Torchbearer Jalapeño.

"All Vol Cheese" debuted at Ag Day. The cheese is available for purchase through the Department of Food Science and Technology, during fundraisers by student clubs, and online. Read more about it and how the product is helping students prepare for future employment in the food industry. More ...

Bring on the Bugs, It's Buffet Time!

Grab a napkin, plate, and fork. It's time to dig into a tasty, entomological feast with students in the first-year studies seminar, "It's a Bug's Life," and the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology.

The ninth annual Buggy Buffet (Insect Smorgasbord) illustrates the importance of insects as food throughout the world. The highly popular and FUN event—dare you eat that?— gives us a glimpse of what may be on our dinner table in the future. We have cattle farms, goat farms, and horse farms. Why not insect farms?

Buggy Buffet is open to the public and takes place in Knoxville from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m., Thursday, October 29, in Hollingsworth Auditorium. The full menu and additional information will be distributed soon. New this year are products from insect producers Aspire Food Group, Rainbow Mealworms, and Cricket Girls/Crickers.

Jerome Grant, the professor of entomology and plant pathology who teaches the seminar and coordinates the wildly popular event, says please invite your friends and family. For employees outside of Knoxville, feel free to drop by if you are in the vicinity. Visit Buggy Buffet on Facebook for more information or email Grant with your questions.

A silent auction will be held in conjunction with the Buggy Buffet to help support the students' efforts. Numerous insect-themed items and artwork will be available to purchase. Gifts for the bugged ones in your life!

National Extension Honor Society Celebrates Six

Four UT Extension members were honored at the national meeting of the honorary Extension fraternal organization Epsilon Sigma Phi. ESP is open to Extension educators across all disciplines and professional levels.

Learn about the significant honors presented to National ESP President Ann Berry, professor and consumer economics specialist; Associate Dean Robert Burns; Joseph Donaldson, assistant professor for program development and evaluation; Jane Gault, Extension agent, Davidson County; Larry Moorehead, agent and director, Moore County; and Dena Wise, professor and consumer economics specialist.
More ...

Support Our Students & Faculty
through Big Orange Give

It is Big Orange Give time again. Last year you helped UT raise more than $766,000 during UT's five-day social-media-based giving campaign. This year, the goal is $1 million.

For one week UT is asking you to shout your love for Big Orange. Step up your give, and tell the world why you #BigOrangeGive.

Students and faculty members feel the impact of the Big Orange Give every day in many ways: increased scholarships, funds to attend national conferences, career development support, and funding for technology and supplies.

Click here to learn more about Big Orange Give. Make sure to support the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources to help them reach their college goal of $10,000. Share the love with the College of Veterinary Medicine to help them reach their goal of $5,000.

The UTCVM-based Center of Excellence in Livestock Diseases and Human Health has released its 2015 annual report.

The center strives to improve the quality of human life through better animal health; expand livestock disease research capabilities; identify and characterize animal diseases that are similar to human disease; and develop new strategies for the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease.

Join the UTCVM Veterinary Medical Center for its second annual Iron Dog 5K Race. The out-and-back race will be held October 24 on the Third Creek Greenway adjacent to campus. Proceeds will be used to help in the care of critically ill dogs, cats, and exotic animals treated at the center. More ...

Emerging issues are the focus of the annual forage and grasslands meeting and tradeshow set for November 6. The Tennessee Forage and Grassland Council will hold the event at the Ellington Agricultural Center's Ed Jones Auditorium in Nashville. "Several emerging issues will highlight this year’s program," says Gary Bates, director of the UTIA Beef and Forage Center. "The lineup of speakers is outstanding and should provide for a very interesting day." More ...

Veterinary Medicine Researcher Awarded
for Excellence

Dr. Maria Cekanova, pictured with College of Veterinary Medicine Dean Jim Thompson, has received the Zoetis Award for Research Excellence.

The award fosters innovative research, on which the scientific advancement of the profession depends, by recognizing outstanding research effort and productivity. Each year, a faculty member at the veterinary college is honored with the Zoetis Award for Research Excellence.

Cekanova, a research associate professor, focuses on basic and translational studies that evaluate novel optical imaging and therapeutic agents for detection and treatment of naturally occurring tumors in companion animals as models for human cancers.

Along with Drs. Lawrence Marnett, Jashim Uddin, and Charles Manning at Vanderbilt University, Cekanova has been developing new imaging agents to improve detection of cancer. More ...

In Greeneville, Meet Kathy Noel, UT Extension Greene County Administrative Assistant II

What's it like being an administrative assistant in a county Extension office?

My job varies from day to day. I am on the front end to meet, greet, and guide customers to agents that are trained to answer their specific questions. My responsibilities include keeping leave records, time entry, travel reports, and reimbursement requests through IRIS. I order supplies, maintain the yearly travel, supply, and postage allocation ledger accounts. I complete voucher requests through the office Quicken account, and write the requested checks. I input data into SUPER for the 4-H program, as well as other program areas. Also, do the routine office procedures of letters and coping information. I am here to assist co-workers with anything that is needed.

How long have you been with UTIA?

I have been with UT Extension for 40 years. I started at the age of 19 and look forward to retirement. My co-workers are like extended family.

What is the best part of your job?

I have always enjoyed my job and have gotten to know repeat customers very well. I have enjoyed the technology advancement that has transpired through my years of work. I like to say that I “grew up” learning computers through UT Extension. When I started work we used typewriters and carbon paper for several years. I can remember when our office shared one computer. We did not have a copier—we used a Mimeograph machine to make multiple copies. Our mailing lists were compiled and envelopes were addressed by using metal address plates and doing imprints on the envelopes. Wow—things have changed.

Extension's Jerry Lamb Honored
for Natural Resource Leadership

The Tennessee Forestry Association has honored UT Extension Rhea County director Jerry Lamb, left, with its 2015 Outstanding County Extension Award in Forestry.

Lamb received the award at the association's annual meeting in Chattanooga last Thursday. Presenting it is Wayne Clatterbuck, UT Extension Forestry specialist and professor of silviculture and forest management in the Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries. Clatterbuck is presenting on behalf of the Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries Section of UT Extension. The section determines the recipient each year.

Among Lamb's contributions the organization cited were serving as a facilitator and conducting educational programs for K-12 educators; assisting in the organization of programs for the Rhea County Forestry Association; conducting numerous youth education programs; and teaching urban forestry classes for Master Gardeners in three counties. More ...


Have a Barking Good Time at Howl-o-Ween

Join with other dogs and dog lovers for the second annual Pooch Parade and Pet Expo from 1:00-5:00 p.m., Sunday, October 25, at the UT Gardens, Knoxville. A costumed pet parade emceed by Erin Donovan of Visit Knoxville, more than fifty educational booths and vendors, and a pet food drive to benefit The Pantry for Feeding Pets are just some of the festivities guests will enjoy.

The parade, led by "Top Dog" UT President Joe DiPietro, will begin at 2:30 p.m. The panel of judges includes Deb DiPietro, President DiPietro's wife, Knoxville News Sentinel reporter Amy McRary, and Associate Dean Bob DeNovo of the College of Veterinary Medicine.

The event is free to attend, with a fee for parade participants. Parade preregistration is $8 per dog or $13 for two or more. The first one hundred participants to preregister are guaranteed a doggy swag bag! Registration the day of the event begins at 1:00 p.m. and is $10 per dog or $15 for two or more. All proceeds benefit the UT Gardens and the UT College of Veterinary Medicine.

Costume categories include Bad to the Bone (scariest), Funny Bone (funniest), Glamour Pooch (prettiest), Pup Culture (pop culture/character), and Bone-a-fido (judges' choice).

Visit tiny.utk.edu/howloween for more information or to preregister. Preregistration deadline is Wednesday, October 21, at 5:00 p.m.

A Decade of Pawsitive Impacts

The Companion Animal Initiative of Tennessee (CAIT) celebrated its tenth year of Feral Fixin on October 15. In that span of time, CAIT has held forty-one Feral Fixin events and spayed or neutered more than 3,700 feral or free-roaming cats. During the decade, volunteers have donated over 5,000 hours to the program. Volunteers are the backbone to Feral Fixin. Faculty, staff, students, and members of the community all contribute their time to the program. At an October 10 event, volunteers gathered for a photo to commemorate ten years of Feral Fixin.

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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