Tag Archives: college of agriculture

Ag student receives Justin Smith Morrill Scholarship

By Joan Kite

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Alexius Dingle, an agriculture science major expecting to graduate in May, can rest a little easier after completing all those applications for grad school.

Her application fees are covered through her own efforts and a generous scholarship.

Awarded the prestigious Justin Smith Morrill Scholarship, she now has $2,500 to defray the cost of application fees.

“My ultimate goal is to get a Ph.D. in microbiology,” Dingle said. “I want to spend my career researching how we can use microorganisms to make our lives easier.”

The Justin Smith Morrill Scholarship is presented by the 1890 Land-Grant Universities Foundation to 19 graduating seniors — one at each of the 1890 member universities.

The scholarship was established to commemorate Justin Smith Morrill, a Vermont politician who advocated dedicating public lands to create higher education institutions that taught agriculture and other subjects to all. In 1862, President Abe Lincoln signed the Morrill Land Grant Act, a law that ultimately funded 105 institutions, and later on established colleges dedicated to educating African Americans.

Dingle is emblematic of that vital heritage.

She is a USDA/ 1890 National Scholar, a Tennessee State University Dean’s Scholar, and has been on the President’s List for the past three years.

Sustaining a 4.0 GPA, Dingle has also been able to serve as President of the Alpha Chi Chapter of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and Freshman/Sophomore Class Representative of the Tennessee State University Honors College. She is a member of Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences (MANRRS), the Hip’Notyze Dance Troupe, and the African Student Association.

She has taken first place two years in a row in the TSU Research Symposium for Undergraduate Science.

During the past three summers, she has interned at the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service in Riverdale, Maryland, where she assisted in implementing regulations for genetically engineered organisms, and at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, where she sought to quantify mixotrophic behavior in dinoflagellates (algaes) indigenous to the Chesapeake Bay.

Dingle anticipates hearing in late winter or early spring from one of the four graduate schools for which she has applied.

A doctorate is on her goals’ list.

Is teaching at a university in her future?

“I’ve thought about becoming a professor,” she said.

Note: In the featured photo, College of Agriculture Dean Chandra Reddy presents Alexius Dingle with the scholarship check (Photo by Joan Kite).

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 7,000 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.

TSU Ag researchers work to make sure turkeys safe to eat

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – As people across the country prepare for Thanksgiving, researchers at Tennessee State University are making sure the turkeys consumers eat are safe.

Dr. Sam Nahashon

The researchers in the university’s College of Agriculture are using probiotics (cultivated beneficial microorganisms) to fight pathogens, including salmonella, which is involved in a current outbreak in turkeys.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the outbreak started in November 2017. As of Nov. 5, this year, 164 people have been infected. The agency reminds people to properly cook and handle turkeys this holiday season.

Dr. Sam Nahashon is professor of poultry science at TSU, and chair of the Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. He said the current Ag research would reduce or exclude pathogens in the intestinal tract of turkeys or chickens by feeding them the cultivated beneficial microorganisms through feed and/or water.

Dr. Fur-Chi Chen

“It just takes a few harmful microorganisms in our body to cause a disease,” said Nahashon. “Our goal is to reduce salmonella and campylobacter in poultry.”

Added research professor Dr. Fur-Chi Chen: “The whole idea is using the beneficial bacteria to feed into the poultry, and during the production, they can prevent the salmonella.”

The CDC recommends handling raw turkey carefully, including washing hands before and after preparing or eating turkey. Cooking raw turkey thoroughly (to an internal temperature of 165°F, measured by placing a thermometer in the thickest part of the bird) will help prevent food poisoning.

TSU Ag professor Elyse Shearer said frozen turkeys should also be fully defrosted, preferably in the refrigerator over several days, and they should not be washed to prevent the spread of bacteria.

Dr. Elyse Shearer

“Also, make sure that no utensils or supplies that came in contact with the raw turkey touch other food items to prevent cross-contamination of harmful pathogens,” said Dr. Shearer, who works in the College of Ag’s Department of Family and Consumer Sciences.

TSU’s College of Agriculture has received millions of dollars from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to research poultry and promote food safety.

To learn more about the College of Agriculture’s food safety research, visit

http://www.fightbac.org/food-safety-education/dont-wing-it/.

 

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, 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.

State Lawmakers Converge on TSU Campus on ‘Tennessee General Assembly Day’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – State lawmakers got a chance to see Tennessee State University’s excellence up close earlier this month.

Several legislators – from the Senate and House of Representatives – visited and toured the campus on Nov. 14 in what was termed, “Experience TSU: Tennessee General Assembly Day at Tennessee State University.”

This was a departure from the annual “TSU Day at the Capitol,” when university administrators, students, faculty, alumni and friends converge on Legislative Plaza to showcase TSU’s research and other innovative initiatives. The next TSU Day at the Capitol will be on Feb. 12.

TSU alums and state lawmakers, Rep. Harold Love, Jr.; and Senator-elect Brenda Gilmore, said it was important for their fellow lawmakers to visit the TSU campus. (Photo by Michael McLendon, TSU Media Relations)

Joining the lawmakers at TSU were the Tennessee Commissioner of Agriculture, Jai Templeton, and representatives from the USDA’s Farm Service Agency, Natural Resource Conservation Service, and Rural Development.

“We are very pleased to welcome you to Tennessee State University and our beautiful campus on behalf of our President, Dr. Glenda Glover,” said Dr. Curtis Johnson, chief of staff and associate vice president.

“Many of you may be familiar with our campus and for some of you, this may be your first time, but we are just glad that you included us in your busy schedules to make this day possible and to see for yourselves some of the great things taking place at this institution.”

At a luncheon in the President’s Dining Room prior to touring facilities on campus, the lawmakers received briefings and slide presentations from administrators on the university’s 2019 Legislative Priorities for funding consideration by the General Assembly.

Lawmakers and USDA officials watch a computer animation in the CAVE presented by Omari Paul, a 2nd-year Ph.D. student in Computer Information Systems Engineering. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

The priorities include the creation of a STEM Institute, a Community Behavioral and Mental Health Center, the Cumberland Shores Research and Innovative Park, emergency funding for students, and safety and security.

“With the heightened demand for diversification in the STEM work force, an institute would provide research, professional development and training in recruiting and retaining minorities in STEM programs in Tennessee and nationally,” said Dr. Lesia Crumpton-Young, vice president for Research and Institutional Advancement.

With TSU one of only two HBCU’s offering a Ph.D. in psychology in the nation, Crumpton-Young told the lawmakers a community behavioral and mental health center would allow Ph.D. students in psychology to complete their clinical training on campus, instead of at Vanderbilt University, as they currently do.

A group of students from the TSU Career Development Center and the center director, Charles Jennings, right, make a presentation to the visiting legislators at the luncheon in the President’s Dining Room. (Photo by MIchael McLendon, TSU Media Relations)

Two TSU alums and state lawmakers, Rep. Harold Love, Jr., and Senator-elect Brenda Gilmore, were among those present. They said the presence of their colleagues on campus allows them to see “where the money is going.”

“This is so vital because when Tennessee State is engaged and asking for money for campus improvements, security upgrades and for general operation, oftentimes legislators have never been to the campus,” Love said. “By having them on campus, we get to highlight all the wonderful things that are going on at TSU.”

Gilmore shared similar sentiment.

“TSU has so much to offer. They have some of the best and brightest students,” she said.  “I commend TSU for arranging this visit. This is a good start. TSU needs a greater presence, telling the story of what the university is and what the needs are.”

Following the luncheon, lawmakers toured various sites on campus, escorted by TSU’s Assistant Vice President for Public Relations and Communications, Kelli Sharpe, and Johnson.

Leon Roberts, coordinator of the TSU Dental Hygiene program, talks to visitors about the services offered by the Dental Hygiene Clinic. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Stops included a round-table discussion with administrators and the Dean of the College of Agriculture, Dr. Chandra Reddy, as well as a tour of the Food and Biosciences and Technology Lab, a cutting-edge facility.

State Sen. Frank S. Nicely, 8th District, said he is impressed with work going on at TSU, especially in agriculture.

“I enjoy very much hearing about TSU as a land-grant university,” said Nicely, who is 1st vice-chair of the Senate Energy, Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. “I am excited about the work you are doing with small farmers and reaching out to more counties with your extension program.”

Next, the group stopped in the College of Engineering, where they observed various animations in the CAVE or Computer Assisted for Virtual Environments, a facility for multi-disciplinary research, as well as the Advanced Materials Lab.

The group’s final stop was at TSU’s state-of-the-art Dental Hygiene Clinic, which provides a wide range of reduced-cost dental services to nearly 600 patients in the Nashville community a year.

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, 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.

Agriculture and Home Economic Hall of Fame welcomes new inductees

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The dean of Tennessee State University’s College of Agriculture was among the three individuals inducted into the Ag and Home Economics Hall of Fame Thursday night.

Dr. Chandra Reddy was inducted along with Mr. Will Nesby, retired USDA program manager; and Mr. J.W. McGuire, retired county director, cooperative extension service. A ceremony was held at the Sheraton Music City Hotel.

The TSU Agriculture and Home Economics Hall of Fame was established in 1996 to recognize and honor those persons who have been diligent in their zeal to enhance the quality of life for residents of Tennessee and abroad, and to assist students in attending TSU and majoring in areas of Agriculture and Human Sciences.

TSU President Glenda Glover congratulated the new inductees, and thanked alumni and others in attendance for all their support.

“It’s good to see each of you here tonight, as we pay tribute to those who have made TSU outstanding.,” Glover said. “To our alumni, faculty, staff, students, thank you for being an ambassador of good will for our institution.”

TSU’s Homecoming activities continued Friday with the Charles Campbell Fish Fry, Student Pep Rally, and Greek Step Show.

On Friday evening, TSU planned a stellar Scholarship Gala at the Music City Center. This year, the Gala welcomes back comedian Jonathan Slocumb as the master of ceremony. Special entertainment will be provided by legendary jazz artist Roy Ayers. Proceeds from ticket sales and sponsorships are used to provide financial assistance to students.

Homecoming will conclude Oct. 20 with the Homecoming Parade from 14th and Jefferson Street to 33rd and John Merritt Boulevard, and the big football matchup between the Tigers and the Golden Eagles of Tennessee Tech at Nissan Stadium.

For more information about Homecoming activities, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/alumni/homecoming/

 

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, 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.

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

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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.