Tag Archives: college of agriculture

Tennessee State University Receives USDA Grant to Aid Veteran, New and Socially Disadvantaged Farmers

Funds focus on outreach and technical assistance to diversify American Agriculture

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University has received funding to help beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers, veteran farmers and ranchers build a more resilient agriculture system.

The University’s College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences received $188,055 recently from the U.S. Department of Agriculture as part of a $9.7 million grant to educate and provide technical assistance to agriculture businesses.

The grant, distributed through the Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Grant Program, will help faculty and extension agents from the University encourage, educate and assist socially and financially disadvantaged farmers and producers to operate their farms more efficiently, and if able, purchase new farmland and become even more successful farmers and producers.

“We will specifically focus on socially disadvantaged farmers and land owners, and try to educate them on a variety of financial and technical help, and the opportunities available,” said Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean and director of Research and administrator of Extension in the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences. “We want to make sure that they are on an even footing with large-farm owners when it comes to technical assistance and funding opportunities.”

The grant money, according to Dr. Arvazena Clardy, assistant professor of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, will be used to conduct workshops around the state, and educate farmers and producers on business development and expansion, small herd management, plant nutrition, and food safety and new farm technology among other topics.

The grant will also be used toward a future New Farmer Academy where new owners and potential owners of small acreages receive training on ways to best utilize their land for crops and livestock. The most recent five-month academy graduated nine candidates who learned about opportunities to expand into new areas of production, gain access to and knowledge about federal funds and programs, as well as develop new marketing strategies to make them more successful.

The goal, said Clardy, is to work with small and limited resource producers, farmers and landowners, and work individually with them on specific problems related to their farms and production.

“We are committed to improving the economic conditions of the socially disadvantaged farmers and landowners here in Tennessee,” said Clardy. “This grant will give us the opportunity to educate them about the accessibility of programs and new farm technology, as well as provide hands-on training, and one-on-one outreach and technical assistance.”

The grant was announced December 3 by USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, who described the funding as part of “our ongoing commitment” to identify, recruit and train a vibrant next generation of farmers and ranchers who can carry American agriculture into the future. “It is also part of our pledge to assist military veterans find economic opportunity as they return to civilian life,” Vilsack added.

 

 

 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 42 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. 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.

Tennessee State University researcher receives national excellence award for multistate water conservation project

Dr. Dilip Nandwani
Dr. Dilip Nandwani

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service)— A researcher from Tennessee State University received a national award for excellence recently for his work on water conservation.

Dr. Dilip Nandwani, associate professor of organic agriculture with the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences, received the individual Award of Excellence from the Experiment Station Committee on Organization and Policy November 3, during the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities annual meeting in Orlando, Fla.

Nandwani also accepted the 2014 Experiment Station Section Excellence in Multistate Research Award on behalf of the 20 land-grant university research team involved in the study.

Nandwani served as the committee chair for the collaborative team studying how farmers can best use microirrigation systems to sustainably irrigate their land, especially during droughts and water shortages. The five-year project included agricultural engineers, plant and soil scientists, and economists conducting a variety of studies and outreach efforts across the country.

The multistate team, which worked on the project officially known as the W-2128 Microirrigation for Sustainable Water Use Project, was supported in part through USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) by the Multistate Research Fund, established in 1998 by the Agricultural Research, Extension, and Education Reform Act (an amendment to the Hatch Act of 1888) to encourage and enhance multistate, multidisciplinary agricultural research on critical issues. Additional funds were provided by contracts and grants to participating scientists.

“It is a great honor to be recognized at the APLU’s Annual Meeting,” Nandwani said. “This award validates our hard work over the last five years.”

Nandwani began work on the project while a member of the faculty at the University of the Virgin Islands. During the course of the five-year project, the multistate team’s research led to new microirrigation equipment and tools that are easier to install, more durable and more precise. The advances have encouraged adoption of microirrigation systems, which has led to significant economic and environmental impacts.

Highlights of the project included the University of Idaho demonstrating better crop yields with microirrigation than with center-pivot irrigation, while New Mexico State University tested and compared several models of drip tubing and emitters that could be used for inexpensive, low-pressure microirrigation suitable for small farms.

Iowa State University showed that fewer sensors, if placed correctly, could provide cost-effective, detailed maps of soil moisture content, while Oregon State University calibrated soil-water sensors to improve the precision of irrigation scheduling.

“My goal is to ensure the science we invest in leads to solutions to today’s most pressing challenges,” said Sonny Ramaswamy, director of USDA-NIFA. “One of those challenges is finding ways to feed the growing population while minimally impacting the environment. A safe, reliable supply of water is inextricably linked to food security. The five-fold increase in irrigated acres that took place during the 20th century cannot be repeated in the 21st century — there isn’t the space. Instead, we must increase efficiency of the irrigated farmland we have, and that’s what this project is doing.”

In addition to Tennessee State University, the other participating land-grant institutions included: Auburn University; University of Arizona; University of California, Davis; University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources; Colorado State University; University of Florida; University of Hawaii; University of Idaho; Kansas State University; Mississippi State University, University of Nebraska, New Mexico State University; Cornell University; Oregon State University; University of Puerto Rico; Texas A&M AgriLife Research; University of the Virgin Islands; Washington State University; and University of Wyoming. The universities also collaborated with the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and Agricultural Research Service.

 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 42 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. 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.

New Ag Academy Graduates Nine, Helps New Farmers and Returning Veterans Develop Successful Farming Skills and Techniques

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Nine farmers who completed a five-month training in modern farming techniques at TSU’s new Farmer Academy in the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences, receive their certificates following their graduation recently. The academy, organized by the Cooperative Extension Program, was intended for potential owners of small acreages looking for ways to best utilize their land for crops and livestock. Finis Stribling III, TSU Area Extension specialist, fourth from right (standing), was the coordinator of the program.


NASHVILLE, Tenn.
(TSU News Service) – Entering the modern farming industry as a newcomer requires specialized training to be successful, and Tennessee State University has answered the call with the establishment of a New Farmer Academy.

On Monday, the academy, organized by the University’s Cooperative Extension Program in the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences, graduated its first nine candidates after five months of extensive training.

Graduates included new owners and potential owners of small acreages looking for ways to best utilize their land for crops and livestock.

They covered topics such as agricultural leadership and regulations, financial planning, hydroponics and irrigation, organic production, farm equipment selection, Soil fertility and suitability, and value-added agribusiness, among others.

As a newcomer in the farming business, the academy was an eye opener for Alonzo Tate, a 2012 retired serviceman, who is looking for ways to improve his 200 acres in Oakland, Tennessee, where he raises goats, chickens, dairy cattle, and hopes to soon add hogs to the mix.

“In the 22 years I spent in the Navy, farming dramatically changed,” said Tate, “Not knowing that, I jumped in with both feet, buying goats and fencing and equipment, not really having any idea of the amount of knowledge that’s out there today. I could have saved myself a lot of money had I taken this class before I started.”

For farmers like Tate and his fellow graduates, many of whom already have established operations, the New Farmer Academy also presents opportunities to expand into new areas of production, gain access to and knowledge about federal funds and programs, as well as develop new marketing strategies to make them more successful in the long run, organizers say.

Although the program is new, organizers say how engaged the participants were during the course of the academy made a big difference and a great impact on the USDA’s recent call for new policy changes to “improve the financial security of new and beginning farmers and ranchers.”

“This year has been a great success,” said Finis Stribling III, TSU Area Extension specialist and coordinator of the New Farmer Academy program. “We had a fairly small group, and the small class size was ideal in addressing the needs of each small farmer in the program.”

He said because each farmer faces unique and differenct challenges, they visited each participant’s farm to ensure the training was tailored to address their specific needs.

Speaking at the graduation ceremony, Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean and director of Research and administrator of Extension in the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences, congratulated the graduates for their perseverance and eagerness to develop new skills and improve themselves.

“We are proud of you and will continue to track your progress as you try to convert the ideas, concepts, and practical experiences you learned here into successful businesses,” Reddy said.

Dr. Lesia Crumpton-Young, associate vice president for Research and Sponsored Programs, echoed Dean Reddy’s sentiments of a hopeful future. “I congratulate you, I applaud your success, and, most importantly, I look forward to seeing what you accomplish in the future,” she said.

The Associate Dean for Extension, Dr. Latif Lighari, said the opportunity to train “burgeoning” new farmers and returning veterans was necessary to help them get the education, as well as develop the skills and training that would ensure long-term sustainable success.

“Part of our mission as a land-grant institution is to extend this kind of practical, research-driven information to the people who need it most,” Lighari said. “This group of upstart small farmers is an excellent example of the kinds of people who can partner with Tennessee State University, the CAHNS, and the Cooperative Extension Program to create a better, more prosperous tomorrow.”

Jai Templeton, deputy commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, one of many officials at the ceremony, reminded the graduates about their part in the state’s $67 billion farming and forestry industry, and thanked them for their commitment to the training program.

“I know the six month commitment you made here took you away from your farm but we’re looking to you to take this information back into your communities and be the leaders who help keep agriculture at the top of Tennessee’s economy,” the deputy commissioner said.

Plans are underway for the 2015 Farmer Academy, which is scheduled for June, organizers say. For more information visit www.tnstate.edu/agriculture or www.tnstate.edu/extension.

 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 42 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. 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.

Tennessee State University Installs Cutting-Edge Technology in Pursuit of Teaching and Research

Researchers at Tennessee State University are using state-of-the art technology, such as this new 3-D printer, to develop educational course content and research projects. TSU acquired the printer as part of a three-year Capacity Building Grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to investigate the impacts of urbanization on rural communities and agriculture operations in Williamson County, Tennessee. (photo by Rick DelaHaya, TSU Media Relations)
Researchers at Tennessee State University are using state-of-the art technology, such as this new 3-D printer, to develop educational course content and research projects. TSU acquired the printer as part of a three-year Capacity Building Grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to investigate the impacts of urbanization on rural communities and agriculture operations in Williamson County, Tennessee. (photo by Rick DelaHaya, TSU Media Relations)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – It sounds like something out of a science fiction movie. Researchers are using the latest technology to create artificial organs, prosthetics, jewelry and even automobiles…all with the help of a three-dimensional printer.

Now researchers at Tennessee State University are looking for ways to use this state-of-the-art technology to print everything from high-resolution models to detailed prototypes.

Dr. George Smith, assistant professor of Landscape Architecture and Extension Specialist in the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences, is currently developing new research projects and educational course content to take advantage of the MakerBot Replicator 2 three-dimensional printer. The equipment was purchased with funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as part of a three-year Capacity Building Grant to investigate the impacts of urbanization on rural communities and agriculture operations in Williamson County, Tennessee.

Smith, who holds degrees in Regional Planning and Environmental Design & Rural Development, has high hopes for the potential of 3-D printers and other new technologies embraced by the college.

“3-D printers and other emerging technologies are evolving as powerful research and educational tools,” Smith said. “They have numerous benefits to both students and researchers across many disciplines, including engineering, agriculture, math, biology, geology, health science, and the arts.”

The 3-D printer, which uses a renewable, nontoxic bioplastic made from corn, includes sophisticated printing software that works in tandem with design tools to allow users to produce high-resolution prototypes and models up to 410 cubic inches. According to Smith, this technology will empower TSU students, and foster improved learning and engagement.

“3-D printing allows students to visually comprehend a concept or theory by creating a physical, three-dimensional translation,” Smith said. “Most importantly, this allows us to physically interact with these concepts, manipulating working parts and making accurate adjustments so we can continuously improve on the original.”

Not only is the goal to develop educational content based on 3-D printing applications, said Smith, but the technology will also be used to deliver workshops beginning January 2015 for stakeholders in Williamson County. The workshops will train participants on the impacts of urbanization, including increased flooding and degradation of soils, and water quality in the county.

“A few of the participants will have training in mapping, design, construction and terraforming for remediation purposes,” added Smith. “However, the 3D printers will facilitate this educational process regardless of past training in these areas.”

 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 42 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. 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 Holds Third Tuesday Field Days and Educational Workshops to Discuss Healthy Living October 21

TTFD&EW_Flyer_OctoberNASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University’s College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences Cooperative Extension Program will continue the Third Tuesday Field Days and Educational Workshops series on Tuesday, Oct. 21 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. in the Farrell-Westbrook Building Auditorium, room 118.

The theme for this month’s program is “Healthy Living: preventing or reducing the effects of obesity.” Vanderbilt University assistant professor of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics Dr. John Stafford will present a workshop titled “Can we make obesity healthy (ier)? Defining pathways to reduce obesity-related cardiovascular disease.” Vanderbilt health educator Stacey Kendrick will also present a workshop on simple steps to prevent diabetes.

TSU/UT Cooperative Extension Program assistant Heather Gum will present “Heather’s Healthy Habits: Doing it for ME!” Gum was featured nationally in the official magazine for Take Off Pounds Sensibly after losing more than 170 pounds and going from a size 30 to a 12/14. She was also featured on an episode of the weekday medical show, “The Doctors.”

The registration fee of $10 includes lunch. To register or request more information, please contact Dr. Jason de Koff at 615.963.4929 or jdekoff@tnstate.edu. Visit the website at http://www.tnstate.edu/extension/Third%20Tuesday.aspx for more information.

 

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With nearly 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 42 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. 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 takes Mobile Biodiesel Education Demonstration “on the road” to area high schools

Dr. de Koff, professor of Bioenergy Crop Production, and Project Director for the MBED demonstrates biodiesel production to students at Cheatham County High School on Sept. 19th.
Dr. de Koff, professor of Bioenergy Crop Production, and Project Director for the MBED demonstrates biodiesel production to students at Cheatham County High School on Sept. 19.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) —The College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences has taken its Mobile Biodiesel Education Demonstration (MBED) trailer on the road this fall, making stops at Cheatham County and Lebanon High Schools on Sept. 19 and Sept. 25, respectively. The MBED, which is a self-contained unit that allows for demonstration of the process that converts oils from feedstocks such as canola seed into usable biodiesel, will make another stop at Mt. Juliet High School on Friday, Oct. 3.

Dr. Jason de Koff, assistant professor of Bioenergy Crop Production, and Project Director for the MBED, noted the importance of the mobility of this project.

Research Assistant Richard Link discusses the biodiesel conversion process at Lebanon High School's "Ag Day" on Sept. 25th.
Research Assistant Richard Link discusses the biodiesel conversion process at Lebanon High School’s “Ag Day” on Sept. 25.

“By taking this demonstration on the road, we’ve been able to speak to hundreds of area high school students about the work that we’re doing at TSU in the area of biofuels,” de Koff said. “This demonstration in particular is an excellent example of the multiple facets and opportunities that exist with agriculture.”

In addition to exposing students to scientific processes that may not be typically associated with agriculture, the MBED also offers an opportunity to engage students in hands-on learning opportunities that can, according to Dr. de Koff, “bridge the gap between the textbook and the real world.”

The MBED is funded through a grant from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture. For more information about this or other biofuels-related activities within the CAHNS, contact Dr. de Koff at 615.963.4929, jdekoff@tnstate.edu, or on Twitter @TSUBioenergy.

 

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With nearly 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 42 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. 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.

Tennessee State University Dedicates Cutting-edge Research Facilities to Accommodate “Phenomenal” Growth in Agricultural Sciences

The College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences dedicated three new buildings September 17 on campus, including the centerpiece of the additions, the Agricultural Biotechnology Building. The added lab space and updated equipment in the  state-of-the-art $8 million Agricultural Biotechnology Building will provide more room for cutting-edge research, with implications for farmers and consumers in Tennessee and beyond. Helping with the ribbon cutting ceremony include (L-R) Julius Johnson, Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Agriculture; John Morgan, Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor; TSU President Glenda Glover; USDA Mid South assistant area director Archie Tucker; Dean Chandra Reddy; and State Representatives Brenda Gilmore and Harold Love(photo by Rick DelaHaya, TSU Media Relations)
The College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences dedicated three new buildings on campus September 17, including the centerpiece of the additions, the Agricultural Biotechnology Building. The added lab space and updated equipment in the state-of-the-art $8 million Agricultural Biotechnology Building will provide more room for cutting-edge research, with implications for farmers and consumers in Tennessee and beyond. Helping with the ribbon cutting ceremony include (L-R) Julius Johnson, Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Agriculture; John Morgan, Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor; TSU President Glenda Glover; USDA Mid South assistant area director Archie Tucker; Dean Chandra Reddy; and State Representatives Brenda Gilmore and Harold Love (photo by Rick DelaHaya, TSU Media Relations)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – With graduate enrollment in agricultural sciences at Tennessee State University more than tripled in five years and an influx of new Ph.D. faculty topping more than 25 in just three years, University officials are celebrating the addition of new facilities to accommodate this “phenomenal” growth.

Today, TSU President Glenda Glover, joined by Dean Chandra Reddy, Chancellor John Morgan, of the Tennessee Board of Regents, and other University officials, federal and state stakeholders and elected official, held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for three new buildings on campus.

The buildings, with a combined price tag of more than $12 million, were funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture through its National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

The centerpiece of the new facilities is the 25,000 square-foot Agricultural Biotechnology Building, the first new building constructed at the University in nearly eight years. It contains more than 12 state-of-the-art labs for cutting-edge research, including DNA synthesis and chromatography analysis. The building will also house and support primarily agricultural research, and provide working space for more than 20 new Ph.D.-level scientists, as well as administrative offices.

The other two facilities, called the Agricultural and STEM Education and Training Center, and the Agricultural Research Support Building, are located on the University farm.

“Tennessee State University is preparing students who are ready for the workforce,” said a very upbeat President Glover, as she thanked the USDA, the TBR, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture and other stakeholders for their support in making the buildings a reality.

“This is such a wonderful opportunity. With these facilities, our students will benefit tremendously by engaging in cutting-edge research in food safety and security, and by expanding their knowledge in their quest for excellence,” the President added.

Dr. Hongwei Si, Assistant Professor of Food Chemistry, explains some of the research projects going on in the Food Biosciences and Technology Lab, as visitors, including Dean Chandra Reddy, and TBR Chancellor John Morgan, far right, listen. (photo by Rick Delahaya, TSU Media Relations)
Dr. Hongwei Si, Assistant Professor of Food Chemistry, explains some of the research projects going on in the Food Biosciences and Technology Lab, as visitors, including Dean Chandra Reddy, and TBR Chancellor John Morgan, far right, listen. (photo by Rick Delahaya, TSU Media Relations)

For Dean Reddy, he said research funding in the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences has tripled to couple with climbing enrollment on the undergraduate and graduate levels.

“This dedication and these buildings memorialize the ongoing transformation in the college over the last five years,” Reddy said. “We have multiplied every useful metrics during this time, be it student enrollment, research funding and outreach.”

He said the college has integrated academics with research and outreach and extension, established faculty focus groups to provide intellectual leadership to their programs, as well as created new opportunities for students to get involved in research and outreach.

The need for continued investment in agriculture and the food sciences is tremendous, he said, reminding the gathering about the expected growth in human population and the risk of climate change and its effect on food crops, and the impact of food on “our” overall health and wellbeing.

“To address these fundamental problems, our research is focusing on developing crops and products for health, for climate change, for energy, and ultimately alleviate the problems facing the world today and in the future,” added Reddy.

TBR Chancellor Morgan, who described the dedication as very significant, also thanked the USDA, President Glover, Dr. Reddy and other stakeholders for their support.

“This is very significant because it reflects the commitment of this University to excellence and to producing students who are capable and ready for the workforce anywhere in the country and the world.”

While the dedication of the new facilities was the focus of today’s ceremony, a presentation by a TSU student received tremendous cheers from the audience, and caught the attention of several speakers and stakeholders with job offers for the Agricultural Sciences major from Chicago.

Kourtney Daniels
Kourtney Daniels

Kourtney Daniels, a sophomore with a 4.0 GPA, serving as a TSU Student Ambassador, had only to give the welcome remarks, but her “very eloquent,” three-minute presentation drew praises even she did not expect.

“I was just being myself; I did not expect to have such an impact,” said Daniels.

Others also participating in today’s dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony were: Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Mark Hardy; State Representative Brenda Gilmore, a TSU alum, who has championed many causes on the state and national levels for her alma mater; and Tennessee Agriculture Commissioner, Julius Johnson.

State Representative Harold Love Jr.; Archie Tucker, assistant director of the Mid South Area for the USDA’s Agricultural Research Services; Steve Gass, of the Tennessee Department of Education; Dr. Roger Sauve, superintendent of the Agricultural Research and Education Center at TSU; and Ron Brooks, associate vice president for Facilities Management, also took part in the dedication.

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With nearly 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 42 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. 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.

2014 Small Farms Expo Highlights State’s Agricultural Diversity and Continuing Expansion of TSU’s Research and Cooperative Extension Program

 

smallfarmexpo
Dr. Chandra Reddy, Dean of the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences, left, along with Franklin County Extension Agent John Ferrell, far right, presents the Tennessee Small Farmer of the Year Award to John Ingle and his wife Bobbie at the 2014 Small Farms Expo at Tennessee State University. (photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – From beekeeping in Franklin County to crop growing in Williamson County, and 4-H and adult agriculture in Bledsoe County, the 2014 Tennessee State University Small Farms Expo Thursday highlighted the diversity in the state’s vast agricultural industry.

Participation in the Expo also showcased the University’s wide outreach initiatives through its Cooperative Extension Program, now covering more than 50 counties across Tennessee.

“This yearly Expo and TSU’s extension effort really give farmers an opportunity to educate the public about what we are doing out there,” said John Ingle, a Franklin County cattle breeder, who was this year’s Small Farmer of the Year Award winner. “Consumers only see the beef but it takes a lot more effort to get it to their dining room tables.”

As seasoned farmers, producers and University researchers, faculty and staff engaged the nearly 400 visitors with various displays and exhibitions, school children – from elementary to high school – considered potential future farmers of America, also got the opportunity to learn about agriculture.

Cierra Williams, a 10th grade student from Blackman High School in Murfreesboro, Tennessee and a 4-H volunteer in Rutherford County, participates with other students in teambuilding and leadership exercises at the 2014 Small Farms Expo at Tennessee State University on Thursday, July 17. (photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)
Cierra Williams, left, a 10th grade student from Blackman High School in Murfreesboro, Tennessee and a 4-H volunteer in Rutherford County, participates with other students in teambuilding and leadership exercises at the 2014 Small Farms Expo at Tennessee State University on Thursday, July 17. (photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Accompanied by chaperons and TSU staff, the children, who came in several busloads from the surrounding counties, took part in tours and educational workshops and hands-on activities including teamwork and leadership exercises, and demonstrations in alternative fuel production and technology.

“Coming here today was really eye-opening for me,” said future medical doctor Cierra Williams, a 10th grader from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, who wants to major in biology when she enters college.

Although Williams volunteers with the 4-H program in Rutherford County, through intermediate cooking and camp activities, she has never been on a farm before, and did not know TSU had a farm and a vast agricultural program.

“I am really excited to see this part of the university and to learn about these farm animals and plants,” she said. “Even though we might not think about it now, the team-building and leadership exercises today could be very helpful in the future in job interviews and other career efforts.”

The Expo, held at the Agricultural Research and Education Center on the main campus, also featured research and discussions on efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in corn croplands, enhancing sustainable production of bioenergy crops, pigeon pea production for limited resources farmers of Tennessee, and enhancing plant protection against fungal diseases and environmental stresses.

Workshops included organic vegetable production techniques, pesticide handling and safety, food preservation, new equipment technologies for small producers, and soil and plant tissue sampling, among others.

The highlight of the Expo was recognition of the state’s top four farmers for various awards. An overall winner was selected for the Small Farmer of the Year Award. That honor went to Ingle, of Cowan, Tennessee, who promotes a 100-percent green technology in cattle breeding and beef production. He was first recognized for “Best Management Practices.”

The other three award winners were Chris Hampton, a beef cattle farmer in Celina, Tenn., “Innovative Marketing,” for better recordkeeping that helps to meet customers’ need; Leigh Funderburk, of Franklin, Tennessee, “Innovative Marketing”; and Billy McCraw, of Clarksville, Tennessee, who received the award for “Alternative Enterprise.”

In presenting the awards, Dr. Chandra Reddy, Dean of the College of Agriculture, assisted by University officials, and Tennessee Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson, congratulated the honorees, and the institution and agency representatives for the support and cooperation in making the Expo a success.

“This could not have been possible without your partnership and cooperation,” Reddy told the packed luncheon on the TSU farm. He spoke about the “remarkable” growth in the college, especially its Extension program making special reference to head Expo organizer, Dr. Latif Lighari, Associate Dean for Extension, for “yet another” successful Expo.

Latif, who has headed the Expo since its inception 10 years ago, recognized his fellow organizers, the various farm managers and research leaders, small farmers, schools and students for their participation.

“Your input and participation made this event very successful,” Lighari said. “We thank you and especially the small farmers who are the lifeline of what we do.”

Other speakers included TSU Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Alisa Mosley; State Sen. Thelma Harper, State Rep. Harold Love Jr., Agriculture Commissioner Johnson; and Dr. Tim Cross, Dean of Extension at the University of Tennessee.

Other TSU partners, Expo organizers, and agencies and sponsors present were the Tennessee Farm Bureau, U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Farm Service Agency, and the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency.

 

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With nearly 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. 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.

2014 TSU Small Farms Expo and Farmer of the Year Recognition Expected to Draw More than 400 on July 17

2014_SmallFarmExpo_SocialMedia

NASHVILLE (TSU News Service) – About 400 agricultural experts, farmers and officials from across Tennessee are expected to attend this year’s Small Farms Expo and Small Farmer of the Year Recognition program at Tennessee State University.

The Expo, hosted by the TSU College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences Cooperative Extension Program, opens on Thursday, July 17, at the Agricultural Research and Education Center on the main campus.

Sponsors include the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, University of Tennessee Extension, the Tennessee Farm Bureau, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and the Farm Services Bureau, among others.

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Hydroponic farming, the process of producing crop without the benefit of water, was one of the major highlights of the 2013 Small Farms Expo. Here graduate students explain the process to visitors during the exhibition. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Featured research and discussions will focus on efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in corn croplands, enhancing sustainable production of bioenergy crops, pigeon pea production for limited resources farmers of Tennessee, and enhancing plant protection against fungal diseases and environmental stresses. Workshops will include organic vegetable production techniques, pesticide handling and safety, honey production and extraction techniques, new equipment technologies for small producers, and soil and plant tissue sampling, among others.

How to fund your operation, the do’s and don’ts of organizing and managing a community garden, as well as how small farmers can move their operation into the Internet age will also be discussed.

According to organizers, the Expo will be highlighted by the Small Farmer Recognition and Award ceremony that will include the President of TSU, Dr. Glenda Glover; Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, Julius Johnson; the President of the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation, Dr. Tim Cross; and Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Resources.

More details on the Expo can be found at http://www.tnstate.edu/extension/smallfarmexpo.aspx

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With nearly 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. 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 Hosts Biofuel Technology Workshops For Local Students, Educators

Dr. Jason de Koff, assistant professor of Bioenergy Crop Production, instructs middle school students while they practice a handheld biofuel conversion. The College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences hosted a series of Biofuel Technology workshops for tips, pointers and helpful information on teaching the emerging field of biofuels. (courtesy photo)
Dr. Jason de Koff, assistant professor of Bioenergy Crop Production, instructs middle school students while they practice a handheld biofuel conversion. The College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences hosted a series of Biofuel Technology workshops for tips, pointers and helpful information on teaching the emerging field of biofuels. (courtesy photo)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences hosted a series of Biofuel Technology Workshops for middle and high school teachers and students June 30through July 3 on the campus of Tennessee State University. The project, led by Dr. Ahmad Naseer Aziz, associate professor of Molecular Genetics, was funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“The College is devoted to providing education to teachers and students in green technology through hands-on experiences and interaction with experts in the field,” said Dr. Jason de Koff, assistant professor of Bioenergy Crop Production, and one of several faculty members who led educational sessions as part of the workshops. “We plan to be active participants in training the next generation of scientists and advancing the state of Tennessee.”

Ten local educators attended the four-day teachers workshop for tips, pointers and helpful information on teaching the emerging field of biofuels, hands-on biofuel conversion, a tour of TSU’s agricultural labs, and informational sessions from the College’s biofuel specialists. All educators received a free “Production of Biodiesel Kit (Carolina ChemKits®)” to teach in their classrooms.

Twelve local middle school students attended the workshop June 30 while 13 local high school students attended the workshop on July 2. The youth workshops focused on teaching basic lab techniques used in biofuel conversion and growing biomaterials used in the process. Students participated in various hands-on activities and games such as hand-held biofuel conversion and biodiesel feedstock bingo.

At the conclusion of the workshop, participants filled out anonymous surveys that indicated that the information and activities presented by College faculty members would serve as inspiration for new activities and ways to teach biofuels and related technologies at the middle and high school levels.

“I learned a lot compared to what I knew before,” said one participant via survey. “I [am now] interested in a subject that [previously] appear[ed] boring.”

For more information, contact Dr. de Koff at (615) 963-4929 orjdekoff@tnstate.edu.

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

 

About Tennessee State University

With nearly 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. 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.