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Third Thursday

A Message From Chancellor Larry Arrington


Congratulations to our UT and Tennessee State University Extension faculty and staff on an outstanding statewide conference in Nashville last week. Showing their Tennessee spirit, the many participants are pictured above. The enthusiasm and energy at the conference were outstanding. We are pleased that so many of our clientele partners were able to join us for the conference. The educational sessions and keynote speakers were outstanding. Thank you to Dr. Shirley Hastings and the planning committee for their hard work.

I hope you saw the news about the new UTCVM Mobile Spay/NeUTer Clinic. This is the result of a fantastic partnership with PetSmart Charities Inc. Thanks to Teresa Fisher, program director for the Companion Animal Initiative of Tennessee (CAIT), for her leadership on this project.

We are proud of the many professional leadership roles that our faculty and administrators hold at the regional and national levels. For this year, Dr. Bill Brown is serving as chair of the Southern Association of Agricultural Experiment Station Directors, and Dr. Tim Cross is chair of the Association of Southern Region Extension Directors. Thanks to Dean Brown and Dean Cross for serving.

All across the state, the transition from fall to winter has happened very quickly this year. I wish you a happy Thanksgiving and good times with family and friends in this season of holidays.

Go Vols,


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

Consumer Preferences Driving Changes in Agriculture

The way that food is produced and marketed is undergoing significant changes in the United States. The demand for foods that consumers identify as “local,” “fresh,” or “organic” has significantly increased over the past five years.

Changes in the way vegetables, fruit, and meat are produced and sold reflect these changes in consumer demand, and Tennessee is leading the nation in some of these transformations. Learn more in a column by UT Extension Assistant Dean Robert Burns.

UT Honors Institute Supporters as Philanthropists of the Year

This week we began interviewing candidates for the new Donald and Terry Smith Endowed Chair in International Sustainable Agriculture. The person hired into this position will bring transformative leadership to the Institute through focusing our efforts on combating world hunger and improving the agricultural practices that address it.

Very fittingly, President Joe DiPietro has honored the Smiths as UT Philanthropists of the Year. Read more ...

The 4 H’s and Her Honor


Meet new U.S. Judge Pamela Reeves, the first female judge in the Eastern District of Tennessee. In a career of firsts, she was also the first woman to head the Tennessee Bar Association. Reeves says her experiences in UT 4-H shaped her life and prepared her well for her career, including presiding over court. The Tennessee Alumnus features Reeves in its fall issue. Learn more about her.

UT AgResearch Announces 2015 Field Day Schedule

New Event among the Offerings

AgResearch has released its field day schedule for 2015. The list includes eleven field days and five special events on topics as varied as the green industry, pumpkins, and cotton, to the annual focus on Tennessee’s agricultural folklore and traditions.

New in 2015 is Ag in the Foothills. This event will be held at the East Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center in October and will reflect the diversity of agriculture in the region, with topics like dairy, beef, environmental management, and other timely issues. Read more ...

What’s in a Name? Well, Quite a Lot…Tell Us Your Ideas!

This newsletter’s name, Third Thursday, could use some freshening up. We are seeking a more meaningful name—one that truly reflects who the Institute is and what we do. Plus, many people don’t realize that this newsletter comes from Chancellor Arrington. What would be a good name to more clearly convey that fact and to represent the Institute as a whole? Please share your ideas!

We have a survey form where you can enter your ideas for names. Even if you don’t have one, we encourage you to use the form to let us know about content that you would like to see included in future issues. The survey will continue through the end of December. So put your thinking cap on, and let’s see what we can come up with! Visit the survey page here.

CVM Launches Mobile Spay/NeUTer Clinic

Students and Specialists to Bridge Gaps in Veterinary Service in 29 Counties

Through a $260,485 grant from PetSmart Charities Inc., the College of Veterinary Medicine has cut the ribbon on a 36-foot mobile spay and neutering unit that will travel 29 counties surrounding Knoxville, bridging gaps by bringing spay and neuter operations to areas where no veterinary hospitals exist. The traveling unit will provide CVM students with hundreds of surgical opportunities through which they not only perfect their surgical skills, but also save countless lives in the process. That's truly a win-win-win for everyone.

With special meaning for everyone at CVM, the mobile Spay/NeUTer unit is dedicated to the memory of Dr. John New, a beloved veterinary college faculty member who fought tirelessly to keep animals out of shelters and in homes. He died in October 2013. The ribbon-cutting ceremony was held during Animal Shelter and Rescue Appreciation Week. Read more.

Leader for National Shortleaf Pine Initiative in Place

Last week professional forester Mike Black began work as director of the Shortleaf Pine Initiative. Launched in the spring of 2013 and coordinated through the Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries, the Shortleaf Pine Initiative is a collaborative, strategic and energetic response to the dramatic decline of shortleaf pine forests and associated habitats that once covered a vast area from eastern Texas to Florida and up the eastern seaboard to New Jersey.

The U.S. Forest Service is providing funding with additional administrative support from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry. Black is based at the Institute. Read more.

Communications Coordinator Joins Institutional Advancement

Lauren Vath has joined the Institute of Agriculture Office of Institutional Advancement and UT Foundation as a communications coordinator. In this role, Vath will assist with a variety of communications projects to help the Institute reach out to constituents and alumni across the state and around the nation.

Vath will grow UTIA engagement efforts and its social media presence. “My goal is to utilize a wide variety of media to reach potential donors where they are,” she said. Vath’s office is in 111 Morgan Hall. Stop by and introduce yourself. Read more.

Extension’s TAAA&S Members Host National Conference in 2018

The 150-plus members of the Tennessee Association of Agricultural Agents and Specialists (TAAA&S) will host the annual meeting and professional improvement conference for the national association from July 29 to August 2, 2018. The meeting will bring approximately 1,300 Extension agents and family members to Tennessee’s fourth-largest city. Co-chairing the conference are Jeff Via, director of UT Extension Fayette County, and David Yates, Extension area specialist in information technology with the Eastern Region.

The mission of TAAA&S is to promote agricultural interests related to Extension and uphold the teachings of the state of Tennessee’s land-grant universities, including both UT Extension and Tennessee State University Extension programs. The association also promotes cooperation with other agricultural agencies of the state with the aim of advancing Extension’s service to agricultural opportunities for all the people of Tennessee.

Wines of the South Is Tickled Pink about the Industry


Seeking a fine wine to serve with holiday meals? You’ll find great choices among the winners of the thirteenth annual Wines of the South competition.

The Institute’s Department of Food Science and Technology coordinated the event in support of the Tennessee and regional industry. Participation in the Wines of the South competition allows for wineries and vineyards to prove their excellence in winemaking. Read about the winners here.

Shutterbugs: UTIA Photo Competition to Begin in January

Our annual photo competition returns in January with a new theme. This year we are seeking images that show how we are advancing the Institute’s Four Pillars. Our pillars define our mission and goals: We advance academic excellence. We deliver discoveries. We promote hands-on learning. We serve our communities. Read Chancellor Arrington’s description of our four pillars here. Think about how you can illustrate the pillars connected to your own work for the Institute and the Institute work that you see around you. Instructions on how to enter will be shared by email.

Timberrr, It’s a Tree-peat! UTIA Tree Bound for State Capitol

It’s officially a tree-peat, ur, repeat for the Institute. For the second year straight, a tree from the grounds of UTIA’s Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Center has been chosen to be the Christmas tree for the state capitol. The approximately 75-foot-tall Norway spruce, which grows on the grounds of the Center’s Cumberland Forest, will be felled today.

The Cumberland Forest facilitates several large- and small-scale forest and wildlife management research projects, as well as ecological demonstration projects managed by the UT AgResearch program. The site is also home to some of the earliest strip mine reclamation research in Tennessee. This year’s tree, like its twin last year (pictured), was originally part of a research project that involved growing Christmas trees on land that was formerly strip mined.

Ag Day Winners Announced

Bragging rights for Best Display at Ag Day go to the Insect Petting Zoo, operated by Professor Jerome Grant of the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology. The zoo and connected Cricket Spitting Contest are always top hits at Ag Day. This year at the second annual Employee Appreciation Picnic, faculty and staff voted the zoo as their favorite display, too.

Jacinda Dunn, a graduate assistant in the Department of Food Science and Technology, won the Taste of Tennessee basket donated by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture.

Rebecca Payton, a research assistant at the Johnson Animal Research and Teaching Unit, operated by the East Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center, won the Donnie Tyndall autographed basketball.

Bob Brinkmann, a friend of the Institute who lives in Manchester, Tennessee, won the Butch Jones autographed football.


The Plateau AgResearch and Education Center will host its annual fall sale of cattle on Friday, November 21, at 10:00 a.m. (CST). The sale will feature open and bred cows from the Center’s herd, all of which are registered Angus or Gelbvieh cows. Bred Angus heifers will also be on sale. Read more.


Assisting agribusinesses in serving up customer service Southern style is the focus of a series of seminars presented by the Center for Profitable Agriculture. The training’s goal is to grow repeat customers and attract new ones, as well as reduce employee turnover. Read more.


A Memorial Toy Drive benefiting Helen Ross McNabb Center is underway on the agricultural campus in Knoxville and at the East Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center. The drive continues through December 15. Bring an unwrapped toy for a child of any age. For more information, contact Carrera Romanini.

Making Holidays Brighter for Children around the World

Santa’s Workshop had nothing on Hollingsworth Auditorium last week. It was there that collegiate 4-H’ers assembled 500 gift boxes for the international aid effort, “Operation Christmas Child.”

Throughout the year, the 4-H’ers collected dental supplies, clothing, school supplies, toys, and other items. Members of the Institute assisted through participation in sponsored meals and donations that offset the cost of shipping the boxes.

The shoebox-sized packages, many with personal messages tucked inside, will brighten the holidays for children in a number of countries around the world, including right here in the U.S. The 4-H’ers call it “service without borders.”


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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