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Common Ground

Happy New Year! We look forward to an exciting and prosperous 2016 within the Institute of Agriculture.

We have just learned that the University of Tennessee Research Foundation has selected Dr. Shigetoshi Eda and Dr. Jayne Wu for the 2016 B. Otto and Kathleen Wheeley Award for Technology Transfer. The award was presented at the 2016 UTRF Innovation Awards Program on January 12. Dr. Eda is a professor in the Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries. The Wheeley Award is an annual recognition of faculty who excel in the commercialization of university-based research results. Drs. Eda and Wu developed an innovative test that can diagnose diseases in people and animals in just minutes. Additionally, Dr. Eda has collaborated to develop a highly sensitive diagnostic test for Johne's disease. In February 2015, a veterinary diagnostic company announced the development of a new diagnostic kit based on Dr. Eda's invention. Congratulations, Dr. Eda!

Several additional UTIA faculty were recognized at the UTRF Innovations Awards Program. Patent plaque recipients included Raul Almeida, Feng Chen, Lannett Edwards, Steve Oliver, Neal Schrick, Neal Stewart, Robert Trigiano, John Tyner, Mark Windham, Daniel Yoder, and Qixin Zhong. UTRF Start Up Award recipients included Lannett Edwards, Neal Schrick, Siqun Wang, and Kurt Lamour. UTRF License Certificate recipients included Joseph Bozell, Shigetoshi Eda, Kurt Lamour, Deborah Landau Ellis, Vincent Pantalone, Neal Schrick, Neal Stewart, Karen Tobias, Siqun Wang, and John Wilkerson. Please join me in congratulating these members of our faculty and technical staff.

Last week members of the Tennessee Turfgrass Association (TTA) held their annual meeting and celebrated the organization's fiftieth anniversary. Dr. Tom Samples was recognized with the TTA Distinguished Service Award. Also, the TTA renamed its TTA Professional of the Year Award to be the Tom Samples Professional of the Year Award. Congratulations, Dr. Samples, and thanks for the way that you represent UTIA!

We also want to extend congratulations to Dr. Herb Byrd on his selection as vice president of the UT Institute of Public Service. We will miss having Dr. Byrd at UTIA, but know he will do an outstanding job in his new role.

The General Assembly has started the 2016 session. We will be monitoring several issues during the session, and we will keep you informed regarding our budget. At this point, we are pleased that THEC recommended our budget request to the governor.

Go Vols!


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


Is Entrepreneurship Consistent with the Land-grant Mission?

In a column for Common Ground, AgResearch Dean Bill Brown explores how entrepreneurial activities associated with technology development on a land-grant university campus can enhance a university's mission tgo serve the public good.

Such activity can quicken the flow of ideas to the marketplace while expanding learning opportunities for graduate students.

A recent Chronicle of Higher Education article profiled how Stanford University is partnering with private industry to advance university programs, students, and businesses. More ...


UT Honors FWF's Shigetoshi Eda for Tech Transfer



The UT Research Foundation presented its 2016 B. Otto and Kathleen Wheeley Award for Excellence in Technology Transfer to Shigetoshi Eda, associate professor in the Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries, and to Jayne Wu, associate professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

The foundation bestows the distinguished honor to one or more UT faculty members who excel in the commercialization of university-based research results. The award recognizes UT faculty who take a direct and active role in the technology commercialization process. Read about Eda and Wu's technology and previous AgResearch honorees here.


CASNR Students Shine in Nat'l Farm Bureau Competition

A team of three agriculture students—two from UT Knoxville and one from UT Martin—won the People's Choice Award for the American Farm Bureau's Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge, a national competition for food and agricultural businesses.

While they missed the overall award, the team won an additional $10,000 during the competition. See the announcement on the winners from the American Farm Bureau Federation. More ...

The UT team competed on the merit of their patent-pending technology, which claims to more effectively terminate cover crops, therefore saving farmers money. More details on their invention are available here.


$1 Million Grant to Aid UT in Tackling Childhood Obesity

A $1 million USDA grant to the UT Institute of Agriculture and UT Knoxville will fund a collaborative center to help families learn to make healthy food choices.

Through the grant, UT will create a Regional Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention Center of Excellence to strengthen Supplemental Nutrition Assistant Program Education (SNAP-Ed) and the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program's (EFNEP) educational programming for low-income children and families. The center will unite the expertise of nine research institutions.

"Our goal is to decrease obesity and strengthen nutrition education efforts and change the environment for families so adults will live healthier, and the children will develop good, lifelong habits," says UT Extension Assistant Dean Laura Stephenson, leader of Extension's Department of Family and Consumer Sciences. More ...


Steckel Named Cotton Researcher of the Year



Agriculture industry leaders have bestowed the title of Cotton Researcher of the Year to UTIA's Larry Steckel. The award was presented on January 13 at the National Conservation Systems Cotton and Rice Conference in Memphis.

Steckel is an associate professor with UT's Department of Plant Sciences. As an Extension row crop weed specialist, he conducts most of his studies at the West Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center in Jackson and the AgResearch and Education Center at Milan. However the impacts of his efforts go much farther than West Tennessee as he is considered one of the leaders in developing programs to combat the glyphosate-resistant weed epidemic.

The National Conservation Systems Cotton and Rice Conference, now in its nineteenth year, brings together farmers and crop consultants from across the nation to learn about reducing costs and increasing yields in cotton, rice, soybeans, and corn. According to a conference press release, Steckel earned the title of Cotton Researcher of the Year thanks to his outstanding applied research and extension effort, his commitment to student education, and his dedication to growers and professionals in the cotton industry.


CAFSP Develops App to Assist U.S. Food Inspectors

The Center for Agriculture and Food Security and Preparedness (CAFSP) has developed and released a Cultural Foods Safety app for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The Center created the app to assist federal, state, local, territorial, and tribal food regulatory officials when they encounter unfamiliar culturally based foods during inspections. The app, which functions even when an Internet connection is poor, provides the inspectors with information on food safety issues and control measures associated with culturally based foods. It also links to regulatory guidelines.

Inspectors can quickly search for the foods by typing their names into a search box or searching by category. The app is available in Apple's App Store, Google Play, and the Windows Store.


CASNR Seeks Award Nominations

Faculty and staff, as well as students, alumni, and College supporters and stakeholders are invited to nominate individuals for CASNR's annual awards. Critera for the awards were circulated today by email. Nominations are due by Friday, February 26. Send nominations to Angie Fox or mail to the CASNR Dean's Office, 2621 Morgan Hall, Suite 126, Knoxville, TN 37996-4500.

Among the awards are ones that celebrate student scholarship and research, outstanding teaching, staff support, entrepreneurship, alumni, and friends of CASNR, which recognizes on- and off-campus individuals who provide exceptional support to the College.

Save the date and time of Thursday, April 7, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m., for CASNR's annual Awards Reception. An invitation will be sent closer to the event.


Farmers Market Boot Camps Underway
Focus is on Simple Marketing Methods for Profiting at Farmers Markets


The U.S. Department of Agriculture ranked Tennessee number one in farmers market growth in 2014, so it stands to reason that those planning to sell goods or produce at a Tennessee farmers market in 2016 would want to make the most of this business opportunity.

The UT Center for Profitable Agriculture, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, and the Tennessee Association of Farmers Markets are teaming up to offer six Farmers Market Boot Camps across the state this month and in February and March. The camps teach simple marketing methods that farmers can use to make money. More ...


Biosystem's Philip Ye One of Eight Maturation Grant Awardees

Professor Philip Ye of the Department of Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science is one of eight UT professors awarded 2016 Maturation Funding Grants by the UT Research Foundation. Ye is one of only four multicampus awardees, with the other four being members of UT Health Science Center.

Maturation grants help UT researchers further develop technologies that have potential for commercial success. UTRF recognized Ye for creating a novel method to produce acrylic acid from crude glycerol, a byproduct of biodiesel production that is abundant but underutilized. Acrylic acid is an important chemical precursor for the production of coatings, paints, adhesives, acrylic plastics, and super-absorbent polymers used in diapers.

UTRF will invite submissions for the 2017 Maturation Funding Program during fall semester. More ...


UT's Gamma Sigma Delta Chapter
Wins Int'l Award, Grant

The international honor society of agriculture, Gamma Sigma Delta (GSD), has presented its Silver Chapter Award to the Tennessee Chapter of Gamma Sigma Delta. International President Edward Rister cited the chapter's exceptional activity and impact as factors in the selection. Click the link below to read about what these are.

The GSD International Foundation has also awarded the chapter an enrichment grant. The grant will support CASNR Career Services activities that increase the marketability of CASNR students. Applications for GSD student scholarships are now available. The next GSD meeting will be held on February 26 in 113 Plant Biotechnology Building. For more details on each of these items, click here.


Starbucks, Sandwiches, Sushi All
at CVM's New P.O.D.



UT/Volunteer Dining has opened a Provisions on Demand (P.O.D.) Market, a new concept for them, on the agricultural campus. The P.O.D. Market is located in the College of Veterinary Medicine, just inside the building's entrance leading to Pendergrass Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine Library.

The P.O.D. Market combines a corner store with the style of a modern market, featuring grab'n'go dining options for breakfast, lunch, or any time of day, including freshly prepared sandwiches, wraps, sushi, and salads, as well as fresh produce, bakery, and essentials traditionally found in a convenience store. A Starbucks serves coffees, espressos, Frappuccino blended beverages, and teas.

"We knew that the students were looking for a quick and convenient place to grab not only fresh food, but also the everyday essentials," said Tim McWilliams, senior resident district manager with Volunteer Dining. "Our goal was to develop a highly customized solution that delivers quality, convenience, variety, and value."

Members of the Institute know that the P.O.D. will also be in high demand by busy faculty and staff. Employees get a 15 percent discount but first must go to the UT dining website to sign up. (Direct link to the form is here.) Hours shown may change with time.


CVM Conference to Give Horse Owners Leg Up



The College of Veterinary Medicine is offering its annual horse owner's conference on Saturday, March 5. The seminar covers equine basics, back pain, toxic plants, natural hoof care, dental care, equine emergencies, and more. Also included is a tour of the Veterinary Medical Center's Equine Hospital.

Online registration is underway with advance registration required by February 26. Mail-in registration is also accepted. More ...


Pick TN Conference to Help Agribusinesses Grow

A new Pick TN Conference for Tennessee farmers is scheduled for February 11-13 in Knoxville. A collaborative effort of Tennessee producer organizations and agriculture agencies, the Pick TN Conference offers many solutions for modern farmers who have little time to explore the constantly evolving options, issues, and information they need to succeed.

Participants can choose sessions based on the needs of their operations: from social media marketing to livestock and crop management, to operation diversification. Many of the sessions are led by UTIA experts. Registration and reservations details are available at the conference website, picktnconference.com.


Join Ag Leaders at Grain and Soybean Conference
UT Extension Hosts 21st Annual Event on February 4

Mid-south producers can pick up new tips and tactics for the 2016 crop season at the free Tennessee Grain and Soybean Producers Conference, Thursday, February 4, in Dyersburg.

Breakout sessions at the UT Extension event include presentations on drone regulations, input efficiency, optimal planting speed, and lessons learned from the 2015 record grain sorghum crop. Conference keynote speakers Larry Steckel of UT Extension and Bryan Young with Purdue Extension will focus on dealing with PPO resistant Palmer pigweed. More ...


I AM UTIA—
In Knoxville, Meet Carolyn Wilson
Manager, Large Animal Clinical Sciences
College of Veterinary Medicine

What do you do?

That is a good question! As facilities manager in Large Animal, I try hard to stay in the background and keep the wheels greased. If something breaks, I get it fixed. Equipment inventory falls on my list of to-do's. If people have to go to the emergency room, I hold their hand. I find and buy items for Large Animal that our docs use to teach students. When a doc says, "Carolyn, I need this for my lab," I find it. When we need the floor put down in the equine arena, I take care of it. When my department head wants the entire college to enjoy Thanksgiving potluck in our Equine Performance and Rehabilitation Center, I say, "Sure, doc. No problem!" In addition to facilities, I maintain a staff who helps keep our place clean and makes all the times I say, "Sure, no problem" happen.

How long have you been with UTIA?

35 years! I came to the CVM as an 18-year-old country girl from Livingston, Tennessee. I grew up here with Dr. Dallas Goble as a role model giving me guidance on how to handle life and work's challenges. I plan on continuing to embrace change and daily challenges for a few years longer if the Lord is willing. CVM has been good to me.

What is the best part of your job?

Not only have I have been blessed to have had the opportunity to work with many great people, I have also had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be a part of the lives of our young students and staff members, watching them grow. Those young people keep me young and up-to-date, and they are the reason I come to work. Of course, they are also responsible for my gray hairs!

Any other thoughts?

Away from here, I like to ride horses, walk my dog, and hike. I also cane the bottom of chairs. I can't pass by a chair that doesn't have a bottom; every chair should have a seat! I buy all I see, put on a bottom, and hang them in the barn. I love them!





Thousands of young people in Tennessee have dual membership in two outstanding organizations. 4-H and the Future Farmers of America—also called FFA—often share many of the same goals and ideas. Watch a video produced by Charles Denney of UTIA Marketing and Communications on what youth learn when they're involved in both groups. More ...


UT Senior Bull Test Set for Thursday
New Testing Procedures Provide Incentives for Buyers



UT will auction more than ninety performance-tested bulls at the Senior Bull Test Sale this Thursday. The sale will take place at noon at the Middle Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center in Spring Hill. All bulls have recently passed the Senior Bull Test, which measures weight gain, frame, and breeding soundness. This class of ninety-six bulls includes eighty-six Angus, six Hereford, two Simmangus, and two Simmental. Sale catalogs are available online and at county UT Extension offices. Catalogs will also be provided at the sale. In addition to the live auction at the Center, two tele-video sites will be provided at the Clyde Austin 4-H Center in Greeneville and the Knoxville Livestock Center. More ...


HABIT Holds Informational Meeting in Chattanooga



A meeting for those interested in becoming volunteers with Human Animal Bond in Tennessee (HABIT) will be held at the Children's Hospital at Erlanger in Chattanooga, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m., Saturday, January 23. Doors open at 12:30 for registration.

HABIT is a nonprofit group of volunteers working together to promote the bond between people and animals. The CVM program sponsors animal-assisted therapy programs for all ages in a variety of settings such as nursing and retirement homes, assisted living centers, hospitals, physical rehabilitation centers, and area schools. More details on the Chatttanooga event are available here.

HABIT was recently featured on Chattanooga's WELF-TV. Watch their video.


Double Honors for Tennessee Turfman Tom Samples

Tom Samples was awarded the Tennessee Turfgrass Association's (TTA) 2015 Distinguished Service Award at a banquet celebrating the association's fiftieth anniversary last week in Murfreesboro. Samples, a professor of turfgrass science and Extension specialist in the Department of Plant Sciences, was recognized by more than 300 of his peers during the ceremony.

Following the award presentation, Samples was given another significant tribute. The TTA Professional of the Year award, which is recognized as the highest honor a Tennessee turf professional can receive from TTA, was renamed the Dr. Tom Samples Professional of the Year award in recognition of his more than thirty years of service to the state's turf industry. Samples, who received the same award in 1993, presented the newly named award to Paul Carter, golf course superintendent at the Bear Trace golf club of Harrison Bay, Tenn.


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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