Tag Archives: college of agriculture

TSU alum’s festival helps give youngsters a ‘healthy start’ to school

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – One Tennessee State University alum is making sure youngsters have the items they need for school, as well as get some advice about educational opportunities and living healthier.

(l to r) TSU Interim Publications Director Michael McLendon, TSU College of Ag Dean Dr. Chandra Reddy, TSU Ag academic coordinator William Hayslett, State Rep. Harold Love, Jr., and Dr. Latif Lighari, associate dean for extension in Ag at TSU attend last year’s festival.

Love’s Healthy Start Festival will kick off at 9 a.m. on Saturday, July 28, at Hadley Park. This is the 6th year of the festival, which was started by State Rep. Harold Love, Jr., a TSU graduate.

Love has partnered with a number of organizations, including TSU, to provide hundreds of free backpacks and school supplies, along with educational information and free health tips that include health screenings. There will also be free food and live entertainment at the festival.

“Love’s Healthy Start Festival is more than a back to school event,” said Love. “It is designed to give the entire family an opportunity to start the school year off right.”

Faculty and staff from TSU will be on hand to provide information on subjects like engineering (STEM), family health, and food and nutrition.

Jason de Koff, an associate professor of agronomy and soil sciences in TSU’s College of Agriculture, said the festival is an opportunity to plant an early seed in the minds of young people about Tennessee State.

“It might make them consider TSU … just to see some of the neat things we’ve got going on,” said de Koff.

The festival will also feature literacy and financial education programs. For instance, for the second year, the festival has partnered with Book’em, a nonprofit organization, to provide 1,000 free books to youngsters in grades K-12.

Ten-year-old Kamaya Simpson attended last year’s festival and seemed to enjoy being able to get free books – particularly ones with a little excitement.

“I like my books,” said Simpson. “I like books with adventure.”

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

 

Small farmers help foster healthier living, stimulate economy, says TSU alum and top Ag official

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Small farmers not only foster healthier living through production of foods like greens and vegetables, but they also stimulate the economy, said a TSU alum and top agriculture official.

Small Farm Expo attendees. (photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Leonard Jordan is associate chief for conservation of the Natural Resources Conservation Service, which is part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Jordan attended Tennessee State University’s Urban Agricultural Conference on July 18, and he spoke at its Small Farm Expo on July 19. Both events were sponsored by TSU’s College of Agriculture.

Jordan said small farmers are “very important to the economy.”

He said they may not be large producers, but if they’re able to make income from a small track of land, “that helps to stimulate the economy.”

This was the first year for the Urban Ag Conference, which focused on methods to grow horticultural crops, like fruits, because of growing interest in that area.

“Urban Ag is a fast growing field within agriculture as hydroponics, vertical, rooftop, and container gardening methods of growing horticultural crops are becoming popular in urban and suburban areas of the country,” said Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of TSU’s Ag College.

In 2016, TSU partnered with Farm Credit of Mid-America to promote urban agriculture, and that partnership is ongoing.

Mark Wilson, Farm Credit senior vice president for Financial Services, said TSU’s role will be critical as the United States faces a land shortage with a goal to double its food production in the next 30 years.

Dr. Chandra Reddy (left), dean of TSU’s College of Agriculture, and USDA official Leonard Jordan discuss research at TSU during Urban Agricultural Conference. (photo by Lucas Johnson, TSU Media Relations)

“That is quite a task,” said Wilson. “It is going to take people like us and the research that’s going on at Tennessee State University to make that possible.”

Jordan said people are aware of the need for more food production.

“They recognize that the land base itself is shrinking, but the number of people is growing,” he said. “So every acre counts.”

As for the expo, this is the 14th year of the event. TSU officials say it’s a way for the university and its partners at the state and federal levels to recognize the role farmers and agriculture play in the state and the nation.

The expo features speakers and workshops on topics that include urban agriculture, hemp research, and use of drones in agriculture.

Julio Sosa and his wife traveled from Dickson, Tennessee, to attend the expo. The couple have 6 acres and are exploring how to best utilize it.

“We’re here to ask and figure out the best way to do a business,” said Sosa. “We’re trying to build something for the future.”

He said they are considering growing healthy produce, life vegetables and green, because “people want better health.”

“How long you live is about the quality you have while you are here,” said Sosa.

The highlight of the expo is the announcement of the “Small Farmer of the Year.” This year’s winner is Judith Reeder of Cream Valley Farms in Livingston, Tennessee. Reeder was also recognized for “Best Management Practices.”

To learn more about TSU’s College of Agriculture, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/agriculture/

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU to highlight innovative research at Urban Ag Conference and Small Farm Expo

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University will highlight the latest research in agriculture this week at its Urban Agricultural Conference and Small Farm Expo.

Registration for the conference is Wednesday, July 18, at 9 a.m. in TSU’s Agricultural Industrial Technology Building, and registration for the expo is Thursday at 7:30 a.m. at the Pavilion Agricultural Research and Education Center (The Farm).

Both events are sponsored by the university’s College of Agriculture. This is the first year, however, for the Urban Ag Conference, and TSU officials anticipate a strong turnout because of the growing interest in methods to grow horticultural crops, like fruits and vegetables.

“Urban Ag is a fast growing field within agriculture as hydroponics, vertical, rooftop, and container gardening methods of growing horticultural crops are becoming popular in urban and suburban areas of the country,” said Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of TSU’s Ag College.

In 2016, TSU partnered with Farm Credit of Mid-America to promote urban agriculture, and that partnership is ongoing.

Mark Wilson, Farm Credit senior vice president for Financial Services, has said TSU’s role will be critical as the United States faces a land shortage with a goal to double its food production in the next 30 years.

“That is quite a task,” said Wilson. “It is going to take people like us and the research that’s going on at Tennessee State University to make that possible.”

According to Reddy, only one percent of the general population is engaged in traditional agricultural production.

“Our goal at TSU is to promote best urban agricultural practices, particularly horticultural crops, for personal consumption and commercial purposes,” he said.

As for the expo, this is the 14th year of the event. TSU officials say it’s a way for the university and its partners at the state and federal levels to recognize the role farmers and agriculture play in the state and the nation.

The expo features speakers and workshops on topics that include urban agriculture, hemp research, and use of drones in agriculture.

The highlight of the expo is the announcement of the “Small Farmer of the Year.” Last year’s award went to Nicole Riddle of Maynardville, Tennessee. She leased 44 acres of her parents’ land and opened her own winery.

To learn more about TSU’s College of Agriculture, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/agriculture/

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

USDA awards $450K to College of Agriculture for food safety research

By Joan Kite

 NASHVILLE, Tenn(TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University has been awarded $450,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for food safety research.

Dr. Agnes Kilonzo-Nthenge

The grant from the USDA’s Agricultural Food and Research Initiative will be used by TSU’s College of Agriculture to pursue an integrated approach to mitigate antimicrobial resistance in cattle and poultry, and help establish stewardship programs for small and medium-sized ranchers.

“We’re delighted that we’re able to get funding to continue our research and outreach projects on antimicrobial resistance of microorganisms in agricultural lands,” said Dr. Agnes Kilonzo-Nthenge, an associate research professor in the College’s Department of Human Sciences and the grant’s principal investigator. “Our goal is to educate small and medium-sized cattle and poultry producers to better understand antibiotic resistance factors on farms and maximize their profits in their production systems.”

The emergence of antimicrobial resistant pathogens in animal production systems has become a major challenge to public health. Every year, at least 23,000 people die in the United States due to infections caused by microorganisms that are resistant to antibiotics, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Consumers’ increasing demand for antibiotic-free meat is influencing meat producers and processors to find other ways to provide meat that is both free from disease and antibiotics. The Food and Drug Administration, responding to concerns about antibiotic-resistant bacteria, is working with drug and meat companies to find alternative ways to keep livestock healthy and meat safe for the consumer.

“Unless small and medium-sized producers are provided with the latest knowledge from scientific research and education in judicious use of antibiotics, they will not be competitive in the meat industry,” said Dr. Kilonzo-Nthenge.

“A comprehensive understanding of best management practices and the correlation between antibiotic-resistant bacteria and the use of antimicrobials in agriculture is vital in developing strategies and interventions to minimize the spread of resistance. We can help the farmer choose production methods that will reduce risk of disease in their livestock while ensuring their profits.”

TSU officials say the research is timely, considering the foodborne outbreaks that have been occurring in certain parts of the country. Earlier this month, the CDC announced a multistate outbreak of salmonella linked to pre-cut melons. Before that, there was a recall on Romaine lettuce contaminated with E. coli.

TSU’s College of Ag held two workshops this month to address food safety and recently added several professors to do research in that area.

“TSU is taking the lead … to see what is really causing those outbreaks, and how we can prevent them,” said Dr. Ankit Patras, one of the new Ag professors and workshop organizer.

To learn more about TSU’s College of Ag, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/agriculture/

 

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

 

 

 

TSU College of Ag hosts Small Farm Outreach and Assistance Workshop

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University’s College of Agriculture is holding its 4th Annual Small Farm Outreach and Assistance Workshop this week.

Workshop attendees hear from Amanda Robertson, regional coordinator for Kentucky and Tennessee at USDA-Farm Service Agency. (photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU News Service)

TSU officials say the goal of the workshop, June 20-21, is to provide the latest scientific information and hands-on training involving topics pertinent to small farmers and producers.

“We want to help them improve their production capability,” said Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of the College of Agriculture. “How do you market what you produce? What are the new rules and regulations that are out there?”

Other workshop topics include loan assistance, food safety, and how to grow healthier produce.

Sylvester Taylor and his wife, Linda, traveled from Whiteville in West Tennessee to attend the workshop. The couple have been farming for about five years and say they want to learn how to grow foods without the use of substances like herbicide.

“We want to produce vegetables and fruits in an organic way that’s healthier,” says Linda Taylor.

The Taylors are among a growing number of black and other minority farmers. Reddy says he knows of one couple that’s had so much success farming, that the husband is leaving his engineering job to farm full time.

Because of such interest, agriculture officials at both the state and federal levels say they want to make sure small farmers get all the information they need to be successful.

Dennis Beavers, Farm Service Agency state executive director for Tennessee, speaks to workshop attendees. (photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations

“Farmers need these workshops,” said Dennis Beavers, Farm Service Agency state executive director for Tennessee. “The Farm Service Agency stands ready to help Tennessee State in anyway possible, to see that all farmers are taken care of and that we have a solid relationship with everyone in agriculture in Tennessee.”

The topic of food safety is likely to be a highlight of the two-day workshop because of the recent foodborne outbreaks across the country. Last week, TSU’s College of Agriculture had a workshop that focused specifically on food safety and the latest preventive research.

Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control announced a multistate outbreak of salmonella linked to pre-cut melons. Before that, there was a recall on Romaine lettuce contaminated with E. coli.

So far, the salmonella outbreak has caused about 60 illnesses, while the lettuce contamination has made nearly 200 people ill since the outbreak in March, including five deaths.

At this week’s workshop, Dr. James Theuri from the University of Illinois will be presenting on food safety. He suggests farmers put together a “farm safety plan” that emphasizes cleanliness when handling any type of food.

“Food safety begins on the farm,” says Theuri, who is an extension educator of local food systems and small farms. “That means personal health and hygiene.”

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

College of Ag workshop addresses foodborne diseases, preventive research

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – As the nation deals with yet another foodborne outbreak, Tennessee State University recently hosted a workshop to discuss food safety and the latest preventive research.

Dr. Chandra Reddy

Food safety experts at the state and national level attended the College of Agriculture’s two-day conference, “Securing Our Food Supply: Innovative technologies to improve food safety,” June 12-13.

Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control announced a multistate outbreak of salmonella linked to pre-cut melons. Before that, there was a recall on Romaine lettuce contaminated with E. coli.

So far, the salmonella outbreak has caused about 60 illnesses, while the lettuce contamination has made nearly 200 people ill since the outbreak in March, including five deaths.

Dr. Sandria Godwin

“The CDC estimates that each year 48 million people get sick from a foodborne illness, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die,” said Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of TSU’s College of Agriculture.

“One effort to address preventing foodborne disease is the Food Safety Modernization Act, which aims to increase preventive measures across the entire food chain based on robust science and risk assessment.”

TSU is among the leaders in food safety. The university recently added several food safety professors, and has received millions of dollars from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to address the issue.

Dr. Ankit Patras

Two of TSU’s Ag professors whose research has been nationally recognized are Dr. Sandria Godwin and Dr. Ankit Patras, both of whom helped organize this week’s workshop.

Godwin, a family and consumer science professor at TSU, recently received a $2.4 million USDA grant to study poultry and food safety. Patras has also received funding from the USDA, and will be presenting cutting-edge research using pasteurization/sterilization at an international conference in Chicago next month.

“TSU is taking the lead … to see what is really causing those outbreaks, and how we can prevent them,” said Patras.

Dr. Max Teplitski

Dr. Max Teplitski, a national program leader in Food Safety and Microbiology at the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), said TSU’s research and other preventive technology being explored globally will hopefully put consumers’ minds at ease.

“Consumers seek not only the lowest cost calories, they’re also concerned with the health outcomes, and food safety,” said Teplitski, who spoke to workshop attendees remotely. “These trends are driving the need for research and education programs to be undertaken and developed.”

To learn more about TSU’s College of Agriculture and its food safety research, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/agriculture/

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

 

Health and Wellness Fair at TSU exposes community to healthy options

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – More than 40 vendors participated in another successful Community Health and Wellness Fair at Tennessee State University on Friday.

Personal trainer and nutrition coach Tay Sweat talks to fair attendee. (photo by Lucas Johnson, TSU Media Relations)

The fair, which was in TSU’s Kean Hall on the main campus and free to the public, is a partnership between Tennessee State, the DP Thomas Foundation for Obesity, Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s HIV Vaccine Program, and the Turnip Truck.

Fair attendees got opportunities to receive massages, chiropractic care, dental screenings, HIV testing and more.

Among the fair’s highlights was internationally recognized vegan trainer Tay Sweat, who at one point in his life weighed more than 300 pounds, and battled diabetes and high blood pressure. Afraid he would meet an early death, Sweat decided to take control of his health.

“I got rid of my diabetes and my high blood pressure, and from there I started helping others do the same,” said Sweat in an interview before Friday’s event.

During the fair, Sweat shared his story with attendees, and invited them to stop by his booth to discuss eating healthier. He said one of his challenges is dispelling misconceptions about being vegan.

Fair attendees participate in floor exercise. (photo by Lucas Johnson, TSU Media Relations)

“I want to show people that you can be vegan, you can be healthy, you can be strong, and you can heal internally by eating the right foods,” said Sweat, whose clients include some of the Tennessee Titans NFL players, and surgeons at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Sweat added that his excessive weight, diabetes and heart disease went away when he switched to a plant diet.

“Maybe it’s not a medication you’re looking for; maybe it’s plants you’re looking for to get rid of what you’re trying to deal with,” said Sweat.

Arvazena Clardy, assistant professor in horticulture and extension in TSU’s College of Agriculture, helped give away free plants to encourage people to try growing food.

TSU Horticulture Department preparing plants to give away. (photo by Lucas Johnson, TSU Media Relations)

“We’re just trying to get people to eat healthier,” said Clardy. “We also have the community garden at TSU, so I try to give plants to get people interested in growing plants.”

TSU’s College of Health Sciences had a number of faculty and staff at the fair to help with screenings and other health checks, such as blood pressure.

The university’s Dental Hygiene Program, which is part of the College of Health Sciences, gave oral cancer screenings and offered participants free teeth cleaning at TSU’s Dental Hygiene Clinic, which provides service to nearly 600 patients a year, including students as well as the Nashville community.

Leon Roberts, coordinator of clinics for the Dental Hygiene Program, said events like the fair are important because they provide the community with needed exposure to healthy options.

“It’s important for the community to know all the different resources and vendors that they can go to for nutrition and health,” said Roberts.

 

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Internationally Known Vegan Trainer Tay Sweat Among Experts To Greet Public At Health And Wellness Fair at TSU

NASHVILLE, Tenn(TSU News Service) – Certified personal trainer and nutrition coach Tay Sweat knows what it means to fight for his life. At age 15, he weighed 311 pounds and found himself in a constant battle with diabetes and high blood pressure. Afraid he would meet an early death, Sweat decided as a teenager to take control of his health.

“I got rid of my diabetes and my high blood pressure, and from there I started helping others do the same,” said Sweat, who is now an internationally recognized health guru with clients in Australia, Canada and Japan.

Certified personal trainer and nutrition coach Tay Sweat (submitted photo)

Sweat is one of many health, nutrition and fitness experts who will take part in a unique community health and wellness fair this Friday at Tennessee State University from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Kean Hall.

The fair, which is a partnership between TSU, the DP Thomas Foundation for Obesity, Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s HIV Vaccine Program, and the Turnip Truck, will feature more than 40 vendors and give participants opportunities to receive massages, chiropractic care, dental screenings, HIV testing and more.

Sweat, who does 90 to 95 percent of his business online and the remaining with high profile clients like Tennessee Titans players and their wives, is excited about this opportunity to share what he has learned with the general public.

“I want people, when they see me, to see the difference eating a lot of plants can have. But not only that, I want to speak to the people and answer questions,” said Sweat, who lost more than 120 pounds before packing on an additional 25 pounds of muscle using a vegan diet.

Lalita Hodge, TSU coordinator of Public Relations and a member of the DP Thomas Board of Directors, said the purpose of the fair is to keep the community informed about the resources that are available to them.

“You will see some of your traditional vendors there like the YMCA, but you will also see nontraditional healing methods there like coffee enema, the Turnip Truck with their organic produce, and we have healthy lunches that will include organic free-range turkey,” she said.

Hodge said organizers are placing special emphasis on getting senior citizens and college students to participate.

Keith Richardson, community engagement coordinator for the Vanderbilt HIV Vaccine Program, stressed the important of students attending the health fair.

“Students are young and they need to know the importance of health and what it means to take care of themselves,” said Richardson, a 2008 alumnus of TSU. “Maybe they can catch health issues early before things get out of hand as they become adults and just have a good mindset about eating and exercising right, and just taking care of their bodies.”

Dolly Patton-Thomas, executive director of the DP Thomas Foundation for Obesity, said she hopes the event will motivate people to live healthier lives. She said Sweat and Certified Holistic Wellness Coach Karina Hammer are just two of the many vendors she is elated to see continue their participation in the fair, which is in its third year.

“I’m just excited about the health fair, and I hope that all will come out and that we will have people just to gain knowledge about what we have to offer and what is out there for them,” Patton-Thomas said. “When you are given the knowledge, you won’t be blindsided. You can run with it and you can choose what to do.”

For more information about the Community Health and Wellness Fair, call 615-474-1286, or email: dpthomasfoundation@gmail.com.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

 

TSU Agriscience Fair provides opportunities to learn, recruit

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Students from area high schools got a chance to showcase their agriculture projects at Tennessee State University’s inaugural Agriscience Fair on Thursday.

Ali Bledsoe, a ninth-grader from Clarkrange High School in Fentress County, receives a check for $500 for taking first place in the plant science category. Presenting the check are Dr. Samuel Nahashon, chair of the Department of Environmental Sciences, left; Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of the College of Agriculture; and Dr. John Ricketts, TSU Ag professor and fair organizer. (photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Close to 100 students in grades 9-12 participated in the event sponsored by TSU’s College of Agriculture. The students, from 11 counties, made presentations in categories that included food and nutritional sciences, plant sciences, animal sciences, agricultural engineering and biotechnology. The presentations in each category were judged, with first place winners receiving $500, and $250 for second place.

While the fair was a chance for students to showcase their work, organizers said it was also an opportunity for students to see what TSU has to offer, and hopefully draw them to the university.

“There’s so much out there we do in terms of research, in terms of addressing national priorities,” said Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of TSU’s College of Agriculture. “A lot of times the young people in the school systems don’t know that. So we’re trying to get them to our place … and see how we can blend their goals with what we have here.”

Dr. John Ricketts, a TSU Ag professor and organizer of the fair, said the students got a chance to interact with some of the College of Agriculture’s faculty and discuss topics related to their areas of interest.

“So, in addition to recruiting, it’s really helping them with their research interest in the areas they’re studying,” Ricketts said.

Tenth-grader Elise Russ showcases presentation on diabetes and eating healthier. Russ says she plans to attend TSU. (photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Elise Russ, a 10th-grader from Hillsboro High School in Nashville who was a presenter at the fair, said she plans to attend TSU and major in agriculture. She said she’s been inspired to work in that field after spending time gardening with her grandmother.

“I like agriculture,” said Russ, whose presentation was about diabetes and eating healthier. “I used to always be in the garden with my grandmother; I just loved doing that with her.”

One of the winner’s at the fair was Ali Bledsoe, a ninth-grader from Clarkrange High School in Fentress Country. She got first place in the plant science category for her presentation about “organic matter in the soil.”

Bledsoe said a large part of her interest in agriculture is due to her older brother, who was in Future Farmers of America, or FFA.

“He introduced me to this,” said Bledsoe, who is also in FFA. “He did a project sort of like this his freshman year.”

To learn more about TSU’s College of Agriculture, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/agriculture/.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Inaugural AgFest kicks off week of college activities at TSU

By Joan Kite

Nashville, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – More than 100 students, staff, and faculty members attended the College of Agriculture’s inaugural AgFest at Tennessee State University on Monday.

TSU College of Ag Dean Dr. Chandra Reddy (right), and horse trainer Jerry Williams, Jr., wth his Tennessee Walking Horse. (photo by Joan Kite, TSU Media Relations)

The event took place on the university’s main campus in the circle in front of the College. Participants were treated to opportunities to feed goats, pet a Dexter bull, take selfies with a prancing Tennessee Walking Horse, examine scientific equipment, and mingle with friends.

“It’s a beautiful day,” said Lauren Stevens, an agriculture graduate student who attended with her fellow classmates.

Ag Professor John Ricketts, who organized the visit by horse trainer Jerry Williams, Jr., and his Tennessee Walking Horse, also arranged to have the Agricultural Education Mobile Laboratory parked on the Circle. The classroom on wheels provides mobile lessons about agricultural literacy.

Emily Hayes, a graduate student and assistant with the College’s nationally recognized goat research, said before AgFest that she was looking forward to it.

“The AgFest is a great opportunity for people to actually see all … these groups together, and see all of the work we’ve done as an entire ag department,” said Hayes.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded more than $2 million in teaching, research and extension capacity building grants to seven TSU Ag professors.

The funds will be dedicated to developing research and extension activities designed to increase and strengthen food and agricultural sciences through integration of teaching, research and extension.

AgFest marks the beginning of events all week at the College of Agriculture. On Tuesday, students participated in the Amazing Race, an agricultural scavenger hunt. On Thursday, high school students were to participate in the College’s first Agri-science Jackpot Fair, where a $500 first place and $250 second place prize will be awarded.

To learn more about TSU’s College of Agriculture, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/agriculture/.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.