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Common Ground

Let me begin this month with an update on issues from the General Assembly. Governor Haslam recently released his budget amendments and the news was good for the UT nonformula units including the Institute of Agriculture. The amendment gives UTIA a 3.25 percent increase to our base budget and will enable salary increases this year. Including state-funded benefit cost increases such as health insurance, UTIA received more than a 4 percent increase. We appreciate the support of the governor and the General Assembly for our programs.

We have started the process of determining capital outlay and maintenance projects for 2017-18. Our two highest capital outlay projects will be Ellington Hall and the Teaching and Learning Center for the College of Veterinary Medicine. We have the required match for both of these projects.

CVM will hold commencement on May 7 and CASNR on May 12. CASNR's ceremony features three speakers: Animal science alumnus Jim Herbert, president and CEO of Neogen Corporation; Dr. Gina Pighetti, animal science associate professor and recipient of the 2016 CASNR Outstanding Faculty Advisor Award; and ALEC senior Will Freeman, 2015-16 president of the UT Knoxville Student Government Association.

We have two important public events on campus in the coming weeks. Students will host the annual College of Veterinary Medicine Open House on April 23. This event draws more than 2,500 people—some from out of state—who want to explore the veterinary college and interactive displays, and we appreciate the students' efforts each year, as well as the support throughout the College for this tremendously popular event. On April 29, the UT Gardens fourth annual gala, A Symphony of Peonies, will occur in Knoxville with Dr. Joe and Pat Johnson as honorary chairs. The Gala is always a lovely occasion. The funds it raises support the Gardens' academic and educational programs throughout the year. Tickets are available through today, April 20. Click here to purchase or call Robin Haefs with UTIA Advancement at 865-974-1928 for more information.

I know we are all glad to see spring arrive. Thank you for your efforts on behalf of the Institute of Agriculture.

Go Vols!


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


UT AgResearch Names New Associate Director
Barry Sims Steps into New Role May 1

UT AgResearch has appointed Barry Sims as its new associate director. Sims has spent the past eighteen years as director of the Highland Rim AgResearch and Education Center in Springfield.

In his new role, he will provide leadership to the Institute's system of AgResearch and Education Centers. Sims will focus on construction and facility projects at the ten centers, along with coordinating faculty research at the sites. Other responsibilities include organizing field days, special events, and employee training programs.

"We are pleased to have Dr. Sims fill this role," says AgResearch Dean Bill Brown. "With Barry's background and experience, he can provide valuable guidance and direction to our AgResearch and Education Centers as they facilitate research projects that advance agriculture and natural resource management." More ...


At the West Tennessee Agricultural Museum



It's a place where agriculture's history is told through fascinating exhibits and pieces of the past. At the West Tennessee Agricultural Museum, you'll find more than 2,500 artifacts from the past, in fact. Located on the grounds of the AgResearch and Education Center at Milan, the museum offers an opportunity to learn and travel through our rich agricultural heritage. New improvements are coming that will enrich visitors' experiences. Watch a video by UTIA Marketing and Communications to learn more.


The Rise of Unscrupulous Scholarly Publishing
Faculty Share Perspective on Risks for Research Community

An explosion of open access journals on the Internet has brought both good and bad to the dissemination of scientific information. Discoveries now speed their way through the research community. But there is also a rise in predatory publishing, in which journals appear to conduct themselves in the public interest, but profit is their prime motive and it can distort their practices. Understanding the risks of involvement with these journals is critical for everyone involved in science.

With that in mind, I've asked Jennifer DeBruyn, assistant professor in the Department of Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science, and Peter Fernandez, coordinator of Pendergrass Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine Library and CASNR librarian, to collaborate as guest columnists on the topic of predatory publishing. Each has conducted research on the topic and has an excellent awareness of issues involved. They've put together a thoughtful piece that I believe is of benefit to us all. – Bill Brown, Dean, AgResearch. Access the article here.


Commencement & Hooding Ceremonies Ahead

Animal science alumnus Jim Herbert, CEO of Neogen Corporation, returns to campus May 12 to deliver the commencement address to CASNR spring graduates. The ceremony begins at 8:30 a.m. in Thompson Boling Arena. Neogen is a publicly held company located in Lansing, Michigan, focused on the development, manufacturing, and marketing of products for food and animal safety.

Founded by Herbert in 1982, Neogen has pioneered rapid diagnostic testing, and its test kits have gained worldwide use as the gold standard for numerous domestic and international regulatory agencies and industries.

Neogen has been named one of Forbes magazine's 200 Best Small Companies in America and one of Fortune magazine's 100 Fastest-Growing Small Companies in America. Herbert graduated from UT in 1963 with a double major in animal science and journalism.

Joining Herbert at the podium to address graduates will be 2016 CASNR Outstanding Faculty Advisor Gina Pighetti, associate professor of animal science, and ALEC senior Will Freeman, 2015-16 president of the UT Knoxville Student Government Association.

CVM will hold its Commencement Convocation and Hooding Ceremony for the class of 2016 at 10:00 a.m., Saturday, May 7. The event takes place in the James R. Cox Auditorium in the Alumni Memorial Building. Graduating army veterinarians will also be commissioned during commencement. The College's newest doctors plan to paint the rock in celebration.


UT Senate Presidents? EPP Is Home to Two



The national presidential race has nothing on this. The Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology is home not to just one new president, but two! Veteran professor Bonnie Ownley, above left, is incoming UT Faculty Senate President. Her advisee, Shalini Yerukala, has been elected UT Graduate Student Senate President. Shalini is a second-year PhD student in entomology, plant pathology and nematology. Talk about seats of power. And a reminder here that graduating ALEC major Will Freeman is SGA president. We're proud of our ag leaders!




Ryan Hammitt, a sophomore in CASNR's turfgrass science program and an avid tennis player, always dreamed of going to Wimbledon. He's realizing that dream, but not in the way he expected. Ryan is in London for a six-month internship working with the Wimbledon grounds crew responsible for preparing, maintaining, and repairing the iconic green lawns used in the world's most famous tennis venue. Ryan was interviewed this month by WVLT-TV about the internship along with distinguished plant sciences professor John Sorochan. Ryan is the first UT undergraduate student from the program to earn the prestigious internship and the only American on the international crew of summer temporary workers. He is the son of Lisa Stearns, vice chancellor of marketing and communications. Watch the video ...


At EUReCA ...

Students Take Home Gold, Silver, Bronze & More

The 20th Exhibition of Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievement (EUReCA) took place April 11-15, in Hodges Library. Students from across the university entered their undergraduate research, senior design projects, clinical projects, and creative achievements for judging. From 247 entries, eighty-eight received recognition at the EUReCA Awards night. Of those, an impressive proportion—thirteen—were from CASNR. Our students took home an array of top awards individually and in team competitions. Read about their awards and the faculty who mentored them. More ...


Mayor Rogero to Ring in Season at UT Farmers Market on May 11



The UT Farmers Market is back this year and expanding its community offerings. In addition to providing access to healthy, local food, educational and interactive opportunities will be available each week, including local artisans and musicians, cooking demonstrations, and children's activities. Grow More, Give More, UTIA's community outreach program that provides fresh produce to local food banks and shelters, will be collecting fresh produce donations and educating market goers about food waste reduction efforts. The market is free to the public and will be held every Wednesday from 4:00-7:00 p.m. starting May 11 and continuing though October 19.

Just as farming itself is about sustainability, the market is asking for the community's support to ensure the continuation of its operation. They have started a crowdfunding campaign through UT's VOLstarter platform, similar to kickstarter or indiegogo, to help grow the market.

"We are asking for $1,500 to help provide the staffing that is needed to make this the best market yet," says Elizabeth Stanford, UT Farmers Market manager. "Help us grow the farmers market so that we can continue to support our community." Visit tiny.utk.edu/utfm to learn more or donate to support the UT Farmers Market.

For more information about the UT Farmers Market and special events scheduled for May 11, visit the market at its website or on Facebook.


Explore Veterinary Medicine This Saturday

Have you ever wanted a behind-the-scenes look at veterinary medicine? Then be sure to come to campus this Saturday when students in the UT College of Veterinary Medicine host an Open House from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The family-friendly event is free and open to the public.


Among the events will be a teddy bear clinic (children can bring a stuffed animal for a checkup), a canine parade of breeds, an equine parade of breeds, farm animal breeds, information about wildlife and exotic animals, learning about physical rehabilitation for large and small animals, community organizations, and much, much more! Students have worked to answer many of the frequently asked questions and additional information is available here.


UTIA Winners Take 2nd, 3rd in Venture Challenge

Institute of Agriculture student and faculty inventors were among top finishers in this year's Tennessee Venture Challenge. Teams must pitch their business ideas to panels of investors in the competition, hosted by the UT Research Foundation.

Farm Specific Technology, made up of students Shawn Butler, Austin Scott, and Daniel Wiggins, placed second.

The students also received the event's "crowd favorite" prize of $5,000, taking home $8,000 from the event. The startup seeks patent protection for its Flex Roller Crimper, a farming device used to manage cover crops and get rid of weeds.

CZ Nutrition, led by professor Qixin Zhong of the Department of Food Science and Technology, placed third, winning $2,000. CZ Nutrition produces sugar-free protein drinks. More ...


Agritourism & Magic Moments at Rural Development Conference

UTIA staff members Megan Bruch Leffew of the Center for Profitable Agriculture and Keith Barber, vice chancellor for advancement, were featured speakers at the twenty-first annual Rural Development Conference, "Rural Communities: Preparing for a Sustainable Future."

Leffew, a marketing specialist with the CPA, discussed the Center's agritourism initiatives and the opportunities agritourism ventures large and small offer producers throughout the state.

Barber gave a presentation on Magic Moments, discussing how participants can take part and how the campaign seeks to share agriculture's message with everyone.

The conference brought together nearly 350 community development leaders from across the state for the two-day event in Murfreesboro from March 29-30, 2016. The conference was sponsored by the Tennessee Valley Authority, Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, and USDA Rural Development.


Come for a Bloomin' Good Time May 7-8 in UT Gardens, Knoxville

Blooms Days returns to the UT Gardens, Knoxville, on Mother's Day weekend. You'll find plenty of plants for your garden and an array of vendors of garden and home accessories at this highly popular festival and marketplace. Twenty-five educational presentations offer topics to tempt every gardener. Along with these, there will be bonsai, iris, and rose shows, food trucks, and music. And Gardens staff will lead guided tours of the grounds on both days.

Blooms Days takes place from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Saturday, May 7, and Sunday, May 8. Admission is $8 per day or $12 for both with discounts for Friends of the Gardens.



Farmers can learn the latest information about beef production, herd management and marketing, and hear about the most recent cattle research from UTIA and UT Extension at the Southeast Tennessee Beef Summit on April 29 at the McMinn County Expo Center in Athens. More ...



In Memoriam—Lyle Donaldson, 83, retired Extension agent in Pickett County and brother-in-law of UTIA retiree Jackie Donaldson. Name links to memorial.



A biotech trait in the development stage could provide improved control of thrips and plant bugs in cotton. "Our evaluations showed that this Bt trait provided better plant protection than the best alternative control strategy," says Scott Stewart, Integrated Pest Management coordinator with UTIA. "These findings have many people pretty excited."
More ...


Riding High

When it comes to bragging rights about the clients one serves, it simply does NOT get better than this for veterinarians. UTCVM Large Animal Clinical Sciences faculty members (second from left) Drs. Steve Adair, Dallas Goble, and Dennis Geiser recently joined Anheuser-Busch East Coast Hitch Manager Dave Mathews aboard the famed Budweiser Clydesdale eight horse hitch. Their epic moment occurred in Knoxville during the Clydesdales' visit for the Smoky Mountain Air Show. Click on the photo for a bigger image to see the utter delight on the docs' faces.

Adair, equine surgeon and director of the Equine Performance and Rehabilitation Center at UTCVM, is the herd health consultant for the Clydesdales Operation. UTCVM's Goble and Geiser began the first "National Health and Preventative Medicine" program for the Clydesdales just before the 1982 World's Fair, and that relationship continues today. More ...



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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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