Plans Include Honoring Distinguished Alumni, Biosystems Engineering, and Celebrating mAGic moments

Female student and calf at Ag Day, UTIA, Knoxville

The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture will celebrate Ag Day Saturday, September 24, 2016, at the Brehm Animal Science Building on the Agriculture campus in Knoxville -- starting at 11:30 a.m., four hours before kickoff of the Tennessee-Florida football game. This annual event features farming, tailgating and Big Orange spirit as the Intistute welcomes UTIA friends and alumni. It is free to the public and includes music, farm animals, free popcorn and ice cream and more! Photo of pervious Ag Day courtesy UTIA. Download image
 

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture will celebrate Ag Day Saturday, September 24, 2016, at the Brehm Animal Science Building on the Agriculture campus in Knoxville -- starting at 11:30 a.m., four hours before kickoff of the Tennessee-Florida football game.

This annual event where farming, tailgating and Big Orange spirit come together is to welcome back UTIA friends and alumni. It is free to the public and includes music, farm animals, free popcorn and ice cream, a delicious ribeye meal for purchase, an interactive social media wall, an insect petting zoo, departmental exhibits and a visit from Vol mascot Smokey. People attending Ag Day may also receive a free, clear bag with a UTIA logo that can be used inside Neyland Stadium.

“We look forward to welcoming our friends, alumni and employees to the Institute of Agriculture campus for this year’s Ag Day,” says Tim Cross, Interim UTIA Chancellor. “From farm animals, to food, to football, we’ll have something for everyone to enjoy. This is a fun, family atmosphere – so we encourage everyone to come and experience our campus.”

Ag Day 2016 will also include a display about the “TN mAGic Moments” campaign, a statewide initiative focused on how agriculture is an integral part of creating memorable moments that are part of everyday life. UTIA is partnering with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation and many producer groups from across the state in this effort.

“Ag Day’ is the perfect place to capture many magic moments,” says Lisa Stearns, Vice Chancellor of Marketing and Communications for UTIA. “We make a lot of memories-- whether it’s a child petting an animal, visiting a favorite display, or enjoying a great meal. Our hope is that people will then share these memories on their favorite social media site with the hashtag TNmagicmoments.”

Ag Day 2016 also includes recognition of the 100th anniversary for the Department of Biosystems Engineering and the 140th anniversary for Soil Science. BESS will have a large poster and computer display with a historic timeline at Ag Day.

Ag Day will also include the presentation of the Institute’s Meritorious Service Award to two outstanding alumni of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources (CASNR) who are well-known in Tennessee agriculture. Former Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson recently retired from that post after five years of service, the first appointee of Governor Bill Haslam. Johnson also worked more than 37 years for the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation, serving as the organization’s chief administrative officer, and received his B.S. in animal science from UT in 1970. He is a native of Fentress County, and has children and grandchildren in Oak Ridge.

Lacy Upchurch, former president of the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation, will also be honored with the award. Mr. Upchurch spent 10 years at the helm of the nation’s largest state Farm Bureau, retiring in 2015. He also was a UT Extension agent in Madison and Cumberland counties, operated large cattle and swine farms, and earned both B.S. and M.S. degrees in animal science. Son Greg is the current UT Extension Director for Cumberland County.

A recent CASNR graduate will be honored with the Institute’s Horizon Award. Robert Elliott of Pleasant Hill, Tennessee, is a precision agriculture specialist with Reliance Ag in Tennessee and Kentucky. Elliott holds B.S. and M.S. degrees from UT and serves producers in crop consulting and agronomy.

The day also includes recognition of Tennessee’s Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year – James Haskew of Marion County. Haskew’s operation includes about 1,500 acres of row crops, a beef cattle herd and a mill where he processes corn into feed.

Through its mission of research, teaching and extension, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions. ag.tennessee.edu

###

Contact:

Charles Denney, 865-382-8058 (mobile), cmdenney@utk.edu