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Common Ground

The University of Tennessee Board of Trustees will be meeting on the Ag Campus June 24-25. We will have three presentations before the board related to UTIA programs. Dr. Mike Davidson will be providing a summary of food safety research programs to the Research, Outreach and Economic Development Committee. Dr. Ben West will do a presentation at the full board luncheon regarding future plans for Lone Oaks Farm. Vice Chancellors Keith Barber and Lisa Stearns will provide a presentation to the Advancement and Public Affairs Committee regarding the new ag awareness program. Thanks to these individuals for leading these efforts.

We were excited to have 160 junior high school students on campus last week participating in the 4-H Academic Conference. The 4-H'ers are in grades six through eight and earned their trip to Academic Conference through their project work. Many project areas were represented, including consumer education, dairy foods/food nutrition, equine, beef, wildlife and fisheries, and veterinary science.

We are beginning a process of looking at priorities for future programs and faculty positions across UTIA. The goal is to identify grand challenges that our organization must address in the coming years. This effort is being led by a committee made up of Parwinder Grewal (chair), David Anderson, Joseph Donaldson, Connie Heiskell, Mike McEntee, Neal Schrick, Scott Senseman, and Bobby Simpson. Look for an announcement regarding a summit in August to advance this conversation.

Bobby Simpson and his team at the East Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center hosted a meeting of the Blount County Chamber of Commerce at the Little River Animal and Environmental Unit last week. It was great to give these leaders a glimpse of the environmental and dairy research conducted at this facility. Thanks to the Center's team for leading this community outreach effort.

Special congratulations to Dr. David Anderson, head of the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, for being recognized as the Western Veterinary Conference Continuing Education Speaker of the Year for Food Animal Medicine. Conference participants honored him for his depth of knowledge, instructional techniques, ability to engage them, and effectiveness at communicating take-home points.

This year Ag Day will be on October 3, which is the UT-Arkansas football game. We will hold our employee picnic on October 2, and we will have the Ag Day displays available for preview. Please save the dates and make plans to join us.

Go Vols,


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


UT to Offer First U.S. Graduate Degree in Forensic Odontology

This fall, CVM's intercollegiate Comparative and Experimental Medicine (CEM) program will offer the first post-graduate degree program in forensic odontology in the United States.

The forensic odontology master's degree concentration provides a solution to an unmet need in the forensic community. Creating this course is another example of the Institute not only advancing academic excellence but also serving communities by providing advance-trained professionals the scientific knowledge and skills to

investigate death scenes, determine victim identities, and collect essential information to document whether a crime has been committed.

The concentration is designed for medico-legal death investigators, anthropologists, dentists, registered dental hygienists, nurses, biologists, crime scene specialists, detectives, and others who want formal training in search, recovery, and identification of compromised human remains. More ...


Schumacher Named Head of Small Animal Clinical Sciences

Dr. Juergen Schumacher is the new department head of Small Animal Clinical Sciences at the UT College of Veterinary Medicine. He has been serving as interim department head since February.

Dean Jim Thompson says Schumacher has exceptional skills that will serve the college well. "He has done a spectacular job as interim department head and has deservedly earned strong support from the department faculty and staff, as well as support from the entire college and Institute. We are fortunate to have his leadership."

Schumacher joined the college in 1997. He was promoted to professor of zoological medicine in 2008 and was service chief of avian and zoological medicine in the department. He also served on various department, college, and university committees. With special interests in anesthesia and analgesia of non-domestic species and reptile medicine and surgery, Schumacher teaches classes and courses in multispecies medicine and zoological medicine. He earned his veterinary degree from the Free University of Berlin, Germany, and completed residencies in both anesthesiology and zoological medicine at the University of Florida. Dr. Schumacher is a diplomate of the American College of Zoological Medicine and the European College of Zoological Medicine (herpetology).


UT Extension Partners on Sustainability Agreement for Obion Watershed



On Thursday, May 21, Kevin Brown, Tennessee state conservationist with the National Resources Conservation Service, and UT Extension Dean Tim Cross signed a Regional Conservation Partnership Project (RCPP) agreement to increase row crop sustainability in the Obion River watershed in West Tennessee. The watershed is home to some of the highest-producing acreage in the state and also approximately 392 impaired stream miles and 15,500 impaired lake miles within the Mississippi River drainage basin.

USDA Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced these projects in January across all 50 states that will receive more than $370 million as part of the Regional Conservation Partnership Program. UTIA was one of two RCPP agreements funded in Tennessee. The project awarded to UTIA is with partners Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation and the U.S. Geological Survey. More ...


North American Team to Address Emerging Diseases in Amphibians and Reptiles
UT Wildlife Researcher Named as Team Co-Chair

A UTIA researcher has been named as co-chair of a new team of experts combating the spread of emerging diseases in North American amphibians and reptiles.

Matt Gray with the Center for Wildlife Health in the Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries will oversee the Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (PARC) disease task team with Matt Allender of the University of Illinois. The team includes members from government agencies, private organizations, universities, and zoos.
More ...


Summer Celebration Lawn and Garden Show
Set for July 9
Bees, Birds, Butterflies, and Bottles Headline 2015 Event



The 2015 Summer Celebration Lawn and Garden Show will celebrate pollinators and creative garden displays with the theme "Bees, Birds, Butterflies and Bottles." Many of the fifteen garden talks at this UTIA event will cover pollinator health and habitat, while the Master Gardener Plant Sale will feature plants that attract butterflies. It all happens Thursday, July 9, at the UT Gardens, Jackson, located at the West Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center. A program guide is online.

Fans of the Gardens' bottle art will be pleased to see the collection expand in 2015 to elaborate displays featuring more than 7,000 bottles. Ornamental plantings on the grounds will also impress. Visitors can enjoy great shopping at the Exhibitor Tent. Around 50 businesses will set up booths here, selling plants, lawn equipment, garden art, and crafts. More ...


Tobacco, Beef & More Field Day to Benefit Producers

Beef cattle and tobacco producers can learn useful strategies to make their operations more productive at the Institute's Tobacco, Beef & More Field Day Thursday, June 25, at the Highland Rim AgResearch and Education Center in Springfield.

Tobacco Tours will cover tobacco variety development, conservation and strip-till tillage, new tray technology, and quality transplants. Visitors can also learn about new products for black shank control, including the latest fungicide registration, Presidio.

Beef Tour presentations will include information on incorporating estrus synchronization in a natural service program, as well as how to utilize CIDRs to shorten the breeding season. Other presentations will cover an overview of the breeding soundness exam, sustainable alternatives to nitrogen fertilization in tall-fescue pastures, and information on UTIA's new Heifer Development Center and the benefits it will provide to producers. More ...


Trio of New Area Farm Management Specialists

Three new financial experts will be assisting farmers throughout the state. Called area farm management specialists, the new UT Extension employees will use the latest farm financial planning software to assist farm families with confidential, intensive analyses of their farming operations. The specialists are, from left, Adam Hopkins, Daniel Morris, and Lester Humpal.

Area farm management specialists can help farm families with evaluation of current financial situation and alternatives for the future; capitalizing on strengths and reducing weaknesses; goal setting; farm record keeping; overall financial management; marketing; debt management; risk management; machinery investment decisions; and analyzing economics of crop and livestock production decisions.

Read about how specialists work with local county Extension agents to deliver programs to the community. More ...


In Knoxville, Meet Derrick Stowell,
HGTV UT Gardens, Knoxville, Educator


What do you do in the UT Gardens, Knoxville?

I coordinate the educational programs that the Gardens offer to the community. I help plan and teach a variety of programs for children including summer day camps, preschool programs, homeschool programs, a free story time program, and more. We also offer special events for families such as Eggstravaganza, an Easter egg hunt, and a Halloween themed event called Trick or Trees. I also teach programs for adults on a variety of garden topics.

I have been developing therapeutic horticulture programs for a variety of organizations in the community. I regularly work with a long-term care/memory care facility in West Knoxville called Clarity Point. There I lead garden programing for residents who have dementia or Alzheimer's. Research shows that gardening has a positive impact on individuals with health issues and/or disabilities. I am also developing a variety of therapeutic horticulture programs for other healthcare organizations in the Knoxville area. These programs focus on using gardens and nature to improve wellbeing and increase patient outcomes.

How long have you been with UTIA?

I have been with UTIA since January of 2012.

What is the best part of your job?

Connecting people of all ages and abilities to nature through gardening.

Other thoughts?

This job gives me the chance to share with community members some of the great things UTIA is doing here in Knoxville and across the state. Children get excited to learn how they can turn their love of nature into a career. Adults and parents are amazed to learn how many different programs and services the Institute has to offer citizens of Tennessee.


In Memoriam

Mattie Overton Brown, 60, program assistant with UT Extension Davidson County for twenty-four years. (Name links to obituary.)

Beryl H. Bundy, secretary for UT Extension Hawkins County with thirty-six years of service.

Clint Callicott, 66, of Williamson County. He was a former member of the Tennessee legislature and the UT/TSU Extension Advisory Council, and a strong supporter of UT Extension.

Craig Canaday, 66, a researcher in the UT Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology at the West Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center. (Name links to obituary.)

Dana Dodson Haston, UT Extension Bledsoe County secretary. Haston worked for UT for more than forty-one years.


In Knoxville and Have an Overweight Dog?
Here’s a Study for You

The UT Veterinary Medical Center is looking for overweight dogs for an exercise and weight loss study. Dogs must be two to ten years of age, weigh between 40 and 120 pounds, and be classified as overweight or obese with no major orthopedic issues.


Dogs that are visibly lame or limping, ones with major health issues or hypothyroidism cannot participate. Benefits of participating include receiving premium pet food for four months, consultation and a weight loss plan from a veterinary nutritionist, and a $100 incentive for study completion. For more information, contact Tammy Moyers.


UT Parking Services Offers Jobs on Game Days

UT Parking and Transit Services has temporary positions open for parking attendants. UT Knoxville employees are encouraged to apply. Applicants must be available for seven football Saturdays and one training session on Saturday, August 8.

There are also positions for others who are not UT employees. Eligible applicants must be 18 years of age or older; have a high school diploma or GED equivalent; pass a background check; be able to stand for long periods of time in all weather conditions; and be clean and neat in appearance. For more information, contact Kathy Stallings at 974-6031 or parking@utk.edu. The last day to apply is July 10.


What a Master's Degree Project!



For his master's degree, Ben Ford (plant sciences–horticulture '15, BS cum laude plant sciences–landscape design and construction '12) developed the new Tranquility—the Cornelia B. Holland Hosta Garden in the UT Gardens, Knoxville.

"It was a unique master's project," says Parwinder Grewal, head of the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology and member of Ford’s academic committee. Grewal, right, is shown here congratulating Ford on a job well done.

For his degree, Ford did everything from researching hosta cultivation and care to collaborating with Franklin, Tennessee, donor Cornelia Holland on her gift and thoughts on design for the Asian-inspired garden. Ford developed the design and oversaw its implementation, as well as built a database about the collection. Tranquility was dedicated June 7 before a gathering of 170 well wishers.

"Ben is leaving a legacy here," Grewal says. "His children will actually enjoy this garden. He did an excellent job. A major challenge for him was working with such a large collection, encompassing more than 550 species and hybrids. Tranquility is a huge asset to UT. The genetic diversity of the hosta collection is tremendous and will not only enrich the experience of visitors but also the research that our scientists and students will conduct here."

Ford, who owns Dendrophilia Landscapes, has since been invited twice to speak on designing with collections, once to the International Plant Propagator's Society, the other to the Huntsville Hosta Society.

Like the rest of the UT Gardens, Tranquility is open to the public each day from dawn to dusk.

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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