John Wilkerson, with UT Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science, Is the UT AgResearch Winner of the J.E. Moss Achievement Award​

2018 UTIA J.E. Moss Award Winners
Pictured above are the winners of the 2018 J.E. Moss Achievement awards with UTIA leaders. From left to right (front row), Tim Cross, chancellor of UTIA; John Wilkerson, professor of Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science; Carla Sommardahl, DVM and associate professor of Large Animal Clinical Sciences; Fred Tompkins, interim dean of AgResearch; Andrea Ludwig, associate professor of Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science, and Robert Burns, dean of UT Extension. Also shown on the back row, from left to right, are Jim Thompson, DVM and dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine; William M. "Bill" Park, professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics; and Caula Beyl, dean of the Herbert College of Agriculture. Phot​o by T. Salvador, courtesy UTIA.


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture recognized some of its top faculty, staff, researchers and extension experts at UTIA’s annual Awards and Promotions Luncheon held on the UTIA campus in Knoxville August 17, 2018. Many of the awards are gifts made possible by past faculty, alumni and friends of the Institute.

Chancellor Tim Cross hosted the award winners, and praised them for their work. “
The people we recognized at our ceremony exemplify the Institute of Agriculture’s commitment to our mission of providing real life solutions through teaching, discovery and service on campus  throughout Tennessee and across the world,” Cross says. “Their hard work and dedication inspires all of us to be our best.” 

John Wilkerson, professor in Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science and representing UT 
AgResearch, is one of the four winners of the J.E. Moss Achievement Award.

Wilkerson has done research in sensor development – including placing sensors on drones to help farmers monitor crops from above. He has also worked in GPS technology and developed cotton yield monitors to measure nutrient levels and soil fertility.

In addition, Wilkerson has built devices to measure hydration in seeds and a monitoring system to detect growth rates in plants and respiratory diseases in cattle. He’s also worked with the Department of Defense to develop an aerial acoustic monitoring system to identify threatened songbirds – a system that’s transported by weather balloons.

“I feel extremely honored to be selected for the J.E. Moss Award for UT AgResearch,” Wilkerson says.

“I consider this award more about the accomplishments of collaborative teams, not an individual.  When I joined the faculty at UT, I was challenged and encouraged to take some risk and solve a real-world problem. UT has given me that opportunity to take some risks on bold ideas that have both positive economic and environmental benefits.”

The J.E. Moss award recognizes an outstanding person from each of UTIA’s four units. The other winners for 2018 were Andrea Ludwig for UT Extension, Bill Park for the Herbert College of Agriculture, and Carla Sommardahl for the UT College of Veterinary Medicine.

The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture celebrates 50 years of excellence in providing Real. Life. Solutions. Through teaching, discovery and service.



Charles Denney, 865-382-8058,

John Wilkerson,​