Volunteers beat their previous record by some 11,000 additional meals, 3,000 more still to come

Gibson County 4-H participates in Farmers vs. Hunger tour at Milan

​At the 2014 Milan No-Till Field Day Farmers vs. Hunger program, more than 120 visitors stopped by to help package meals for West Tennessee food banks. Volunteers ranged from farmers to 4-H members, including Makayla Walters (shown left), an 8th grade student at Trenton Rosenwald Middle School in Trenton, Tenn., and Gibson County 4-H member. Photo by G. Rowsey, courtesy UT Institute of Agriculture. Download image



MILAN, Tenn. – At the recent Milan No-Till Field Day, farmers learned management practices to help them combat damaging weeds, insects and diseases.

They also took on another problem in many Tennessee families and communities…hunger.

A hands-on, visitor participation event called “Farmers vs. Hunger” was part of the field day program. Many of the nearly 2,500 field day
visitors took time out from their busy day to form an assembly line and package 28,080 meals that are being distributed to food banks in West Tennessee.

The 2014 Milan No-Till Field Day is a farmer educational event sponsored by the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture and held biennially at the UT AgResearch and Education Center at Milan. It is traditionally known as among the nation’s top no-till production field days. This year attendees came from
72 Tennessee counties, 19 U.S. states, the District of Columbia as well as El Salvador and Australia. The event also appeals to producers and land owners with interests as diverse as row crop sustainability, beef cattle production and natural resources management.

At the last Milan No-Till Field Day in 2012, volunteers packaged more than 17,000 macaroni and cheese meals, and this year they beat that record by some 11,000 meals, with more on the way. On August 14 a group called Hunters Sharing the Harvest, Inc. expects to pack an estimated 3,000 extra meals, bringing the total to more than 31,000 meals for the hungry in West Tennessee.

“Around 17 percent of the state’s population is food insecure; this includes about 25 percent of the children of Tennessee,” says Blake Brown, director, UT AgResearch and Education Center at Milan.  “We may not think about it often, but hunger is a real issue in our communities.”

The food packaged at the Farmers vs. Hunger tour included a macaroni and cheese meal fortified with soy protein and vitamins. Thanks to the soybean’s unique protein content, this meal will be nutritious and substantial for children and adults, said Chuck Danehower, UT Extension farm management specialist and coordinator of the tour. “Soybeans are the state’s largest row crop. They are grown on more than 1.6 million acres in Tennessee,” he said. “They are a
vital component of many nutritious and affordable meals.” 

The “Farmers vs. Hunger” tour attracted about 120 volunteers from field day visitors and UT faculty and staff. In addition to the UT Institute of Agriculture AgResearch and Education Center at Milan, the tour was also sponsored by Hunters Sharing the Harvest, Inc.; Cargill; the Tennessee Soybean Promotion Council; Farm Credit Mid-America and Outreach, Inc. “The tour is one way we can utilize soybeans grown in our state to help those in need in our community,” said Brown.

More details about Tennessee soybean production can be found online at the Tennessee Soybeans website. Summaries of the Milan No-Till Field Day presentations can be found online at milan.tennessee.edu. Click on the No-Till Field Day link for the complete tour reports.

The AgResearch and Education Center at Milan is one of 10 research facilities operated by the UT Institute of Agriculture. In addition to its agricultural research programs, UTIA also provides instruction research and public service through the UT College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, the UT College of Veterinary Medicine and UT Extension offices in every county in the state.



Blake Brown, director, UT AgResearch and Education Center at Milan, 731-686-7362,

Ginger Rowsey UTIA Marketing and Communications Services, 731-425-4768,