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Third Thursday

A Message from the Chancellor

Our 26th year of 4-H Academic Conference. David Golden being appointed as a new Board of Trustees member. Changes at the UT Foundation and the approach of Ag Day are all top of mind for me. Read more about these and other Institute developments. And be sure to follow me on Twitter at @UTIAChancellor.

Thoughts from Dean Caula Beyl on CASNR's Career Preparation


Today many companies are struggling to find skilled candidates to fill their workforce needs. In some disciplines, this “skills gap” is as large as a chasm. Read Dean Beyl’s thoughts on steps CASNR and agricultural industries can take to bridge this divide and ensure an excellent match between students’ career preparation and the job market they enter. Read more ...

Tobacco, Beef and More June 26, Plus Further Field Days Ahead

The Highland Rim AgResearch and Education Center is hosting a field day next Thursday for beef cattle and tobacco producers. A full lineup of other field days and special events is ahead, including our two most highly attended ones: Summer Celebration in Jackson on July 10 and No-Till in Milan on July 24. See the full schedule.

UT Farmers Market Helps Feed Knoxville’s Hungry


Each week hundreds of East Tennesseans visit the UT Farmers Market to pick up fresh produce, local food and enjoy a variety of entertainment and activities. The Farmers Market is broadening its reach through Grow More, Give More, a partnership in its second year between the Institute of Agriculture and the Society of St. Andrew. Grow More, Give More helps feed Knoxville’s hungry neighbors while reducing food waste. Read more and visit Grow More, Give More's blog and presence on Facebook.

Peter Krawczel of Animal Science Tapped for Prestigious Fulbright

Peter Krawczel, assistant professor of dairy research and extension in the Department of Animal Science, has been named a Fulbright Scholar. The prestigious honor will see him depart in October for five months of research and teaching focused on establishing a dairy welfare assessment program in Croatia. Read more about his plans for the exchange.

USDA Adopts UT Soybean Variety as High Performance Check

Congratulations to Professor Vince Pantalone of the Department of Plant Sciences on having his new UT soybean variety “Ellis” adopted as the USDA high yield check, replacing 5002T for southern regional field trials. Checks are used to benchmark the performance of other elite soybean breeding lines and commercial varieties. This is the third time that a Pantalone soybean variety has been honored in this manner. The name “Ellis” has special meaning as Pantalone chose to name the new variety after research associates Debbie and Lee Ellis in honor of their long-standing commitment to AgResearch and the Institute.


Institute Extension agents are warning farmers and gardeners that a newly arrived exotic insect, the spotted wing drosophila, can cause significant damage to the state’s fruit crops.


The Society of American Foresters has named UT Extension forestry specialist David Mercker a fellow of the society.The honor recognizes outstanding contributions to the field.


Institute researchers have developed a new technology to help gauge what healthy cattle eat and how farmers can limit their feed costs. The system sends information from a barn straight to a researcher’s desk.

Turfgrass Device Robotically Tests Playing Surfaces

In a new video, Adam Thoms, research leader of the Institute’s Center for Athletic Field Safety, explains the Tennessee Athletic Field Tester, a device that simulates a human foot strike on an athletic field to allow evaluation of the performance of various infield surfaces. TAFT is the only instrument in the world that has been correlated to human subjects in a biometrics lab. Watch the video.

Institute Scientist Investigates Mosquito Vectors Causing La Crosse Encephalitis

Rebecca Trout Fryxell, a medical and veterinary entomologist and assistant professor in the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, has been in the news lately discussing La Crosse encephalitis and the mosquitos that carry it. We’re entering peak season for infections, and a number of cases have occurred in East Tennessee in previous years. Watch a video.


Knoxville’s Metro Pulse newspaper featured Matthew Gray’s investigations of ranavirus, a devastating disease that threatens to make amphibians extinct. Gray is an associate professor in the Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries.


UT recently honored Tom Mueller, professor in the Department of Plant Sciences, as Quest Scholar of the Week. The recognition noted his induction as a fellow of the Weed Science Society of America.


Encouraging responsibility is the goal of UT 4-H Livestock Projects where children spend time caring for an animal. Watch a UTIA-produced video about the projects.

Severe Weather Dealing Tough Blows to West Tennessee Agriculture

As if farming isn't hard enough, Mother Nature has dealt blow after blow to West Tennessee growers, damaging and destroying crops, and leaving the ground too soft to support their heavy machinery.

The heavy rains have taken a toll on this soybean field in Hardeman County. Since late May, the field has been too wet and muddy to go over with equipment. Farmer Mike Grantham has not been able to apply herbicides and will have to replant approximately 15 acres of soybeans when the ground dries.

Bob Hayes, director of the West Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center, discusses the problems producers have been facing in a video with WBBJ-TV Jackson.

Can Dogs Sunburn? Yes, They Can!

At the UT College of Veterinary Medicine, a reporter from WATE-TV Knoxville interviewed medical technician Becky Smith on the subject. Smith demonstrated how to apply sunscreen to a dog, focusing on the tips of the ears and other places with thin fur that are potential areas for a burn. Watch a video.


In August, marketing experts with the Center for Profitable Agriculture and UT Extension specialists will present a workshop to help dairy farmers learn about calculating milk production costs and assessing the costs and opportunities associated with on-farm milk processing. More ...


In Memoriam: Mark Gateley, 55, 4-H Extension agent in Anderson County and longtime executive director of the Tennessee 4-H Foundation before his retirement in 2011. Colleagues praised Gateley’s warm nature and dedication.


Want to add some flash and excitement to your yard? The UT Extension publication, “W 305 Hummingbird Gardening in Tennessee,” has a lot of great information for homeowners who wish to attract hummingbirds to their gardens.

Glass Art Gone Wild!

Expect vivid color at next month’s Summer Celebration lawn and garden show hosted by the West Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center in Jackson — both the plant kind and bottle art kind. Through the handiwork of Jason Reeves, research associate and UT Gardens curator, bottles are the theme this year, and there are literally thousands of them! Here’s a sneak peek of one of the glass wall installations that Reeves and a center team are constructing on the grounds.


Third Thursday is published monthly by the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture. Send comments and suggestions to Margot Emery. 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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