Tag Archives: Dr. Chandra Reddy

TSU to show award-winning documentary about threats to honeybees

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is providing a free screening of an award-winning documentary about the threats to honeybees and other pollinators.

The film, called “The Pollinators,” will be shown on Wednesday, November 6, at 6:30 p.m. in The Forum auditorium in TSU’s Floyd-Payne Campus Center. TSU is one of four college campuses across the state selected to show the film.

“The Pollinators” follows migratory beekeepers and their truckloads of honeybees around the United States and sheds light on some of the threats to the bees’ survival, such as pesticides and other chemicals, according to a synopsis of the film. 

The filmmakers talk to farmers, scientists, chefs and academics along the way to give a broad perspective about the problem, what it means to food security, and how to improve it.

“More than anything, this film is about awareness,” says Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of TSU’s College of Agriculture. “The reality is, we’re losing the bees, and we have to find ways to save them.”

“The Pollinators” has been selected by 25 national and international film festivals and has been honored as “Best Documentary” at seven of them.

Following the film on Wednesday, there will be a panel discussion and Q&A. The panel will include several TSU Ag officials, as well as representatives from the Nashville Area Beekeepers Association.

To see the trailer, visit https://us.demand.film/the-pollinators/.

Note: Featured photo courtesy of Peter Nelson

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU students benefit from Regions Bank and Cheekwood Partnership providing summer jobs

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – This summer Tennessee State University is providing paid internships for TSU students thanks to a partnership with Cheekwood Estate and Gardens and Regions Bank.

According to Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of TSU’s College of Agriculture, these internships are part of the college’s initiative to increase its number of student internships with industry partners.

“This is a great investment by Regions Bank in our students,” said Reddy.  “We place a lot of importance on these internships.  Historically, we used to send a lot of students to the different governmental agencies. Now we are branching out to a lot of industry partners. This summer we have almost forty students across the country in different organizations and companies doing internships.”

Reddy said Regions Bank is providing $25,000 this year for student salaries. 

Daiva Wilson, a senior Agriculture major with a concentration in biotechnology who interned with Cheekwood last summer, said her experience at Cheekwood was eye-opening.

Daiva WIlson

“I’d never been to a botanical garden before, so just seeing the garden was a benefit,” said Wilson, who serves as an intern with USDA this summer.  “Also, I was able to see how the gardeners work with one another. They actually create such a beautiful display for members and people who visit the garden.”

Wilson’s internship at Cheekwood focused on horticulture.  She said she worked with the plant team and had the opportunity to experience the entire Cheekwood garden.  She credits Dr. De’Etra Young, assistant professor of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, with helping her secure the internship.

“The TSU College of Agriculture is really big on students presenting their goals. We have the Dean’s Scholars Program, and students with a 3.0 or higher are partnered with a mentor, which is usually a professor who does research in the lab,” she said. “Dr. Young pretty much says if you are a dean’s scholar, you should have an internship every summer.”

Young said the Cheekwood internships focus on three areas: education, horticulture and aboriculture.

“The role that I play is actually recruiting students and then internally vetting them before we send them over to Cheekwood, and then Cheekwood has their own application and interviewing process,” Young said. “For me, I believe that the experience for our students is hands-on experience that compliments what we are teaching in the classroom.”

Daniel Shaw, a senior Agribusiness major from Lamar, Arkansas, said he enjoys being a summer intern at Cheekwood.

“I am doing maintenance at the garden, like weeding, watering and planting.  Earlier on, we were transitioning from the spring annuals to the summer annuals, and we briefly started doing some plant identification for a daylily collection they have,” he said.

Shaw, who is also considering a career in environmental sciences and was introduced to the opportunity by Young, said he thinks the internship will give him leverage with future employers.

“It shows that you can be committed to something. Hopefully other people are going to be able to see your work ethic and put in a good word for you,” he said.

Shaw and fellow TSU student Jenna Jones, an education major at TSU, began their summer internships at Cheekwood in mid-May and will work through late July. 

TSU students Steve Osborne (left), an Agriculture Sciences major with concentration in Environmental Sciences and Davia Wilson(right), an Agriculture major with a concentration in Biotechnology, with Cheekwood Plant Collections Manager Shanna T. Jones (center) during their summer internship at Cheekwood in 2018.

Although the Cheekwood internship has existed since 2017, it has had multiple funders. This year Regions Bank is playing an instrumental role in the partnership. 

“Regions has longstanding relationships with both Tennessee State University and Cheekwood Botanical Gardens, said Senior VP and Regional Community Development and Partnerships Manager Latrisha Jemison with Regions Bank. “This is an ideal partnership that allows us to invest in a successful program with very talented students. TSU students complete the internship with workforce ready skills and go on to acquire employment in the horticultural profession.”

Reddy said TSU President Glenda Glover initiated the partnership.

“We have been sending out students as interns, and they have been paying the students for internships during the summer and during the regular semester for some time,” he said. “We are interested from an environmental perspective, with regards to botany and understanding the plants.  From their perspective, it is for beauty and environment.” 

He said faculty from the College of Agriculture have also played a role in the partnership.

“Our faculty have been trying to provide technical assistance on some basic things, like how to grow plants hydroponically, and how to take care of the ornamental plants,” he said.  “So there are student internships and faculty support for the public who come to Cheekwood Gardens.”

Peter Grimaldi, vice president of gardens and facilities at Cheekwood, said the internships provide students with an experience that includes a combination of direct service, working in the garden along with Cheekwood’s permanent professional staff, and project-based work.

“Public Horticulture includes the full spectrum of horticulture, and the opportunities at our operation pretty much include bits and pieces of almost any professional opportunity you can seek out in the green industry,” he said. “The interns have been very impressive, the students themselves, and if they are in anyway a representation of the young professionals that TSU is sending out into the workplace and the community, and they are, then that’s something the university should be proud of.”

Grimaldi said the botanical garden plans to have two additional internships this fall.

For more information 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

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Tennessee State University Ag Professor Receives $650,000 in Grants for Food Safety and Disease Prevention Research

By JOAN KITE

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) — Tennessee State University professor Dr. Ankit Patras has received two grants totaling $650,000 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Trojan Technologies of Canada, and California-based Aquafine Corporation. The grants will fund research to make food safer by eliminating harmful viruses and bacterial endospores in juices and other beverages.

Dr. Ankit Patras

In the NIFA grant, Patras, as principal investigator, and his research team at TSU, including Dr. Agnes Kilonzo-Nthenge and Dr. John Rickettes, are collaborating with researchers at the University of Tennessee, and the Institute of Food Safety and Health at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Together, Patras and his fellow researchers will study the effect of highly energetic photons at 253.7 nm wavelength for the inactivation of viral particles, bacterial spores, and mycotoxins.

Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of the College of Agriculture, said TSU is glad to partner with USDA and private industry in a research project that is aimed to make food safe for consumers without worrying about bacterial or viral contamination and illnesses.

“Dr. Patras is one of the national leaders in this area of research and he and his team are exploring some novel ways to contain or eliminate bacteria and viruses in foods through these grants,” Reddy said. “As our new Food Science building comes online in a year or so, we will intensify the food science research at TSU.”

Dr. Ankit Patras demonstrates the thin film pilot UV system, a novel pasteurization technology for inactivating viruses and bacterial endospores in liquid foods. Research Fellow Dr. Brahmiah Pendyala looks on. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

According to Patras, who is research assistant professor of agricultural science, the ultimate goal of this project is to develop new and improved non-thermal technologies to inactivate viruses and bacterial endospores. He said one of the unique aspects of the project is the use of novel approaches for ensuring uniform UV exposure to bacterial and viral particles in fluids, without any arbitrary fluence rate distribution and uncertainty in the delivered UV fluence within the UV systems.

“Another important aspect of the study is to create science-based knowledge and bridge existing knowledge gaps by assessing the sensitivity of target foodborne viruses and spores to this treatment,” Patras said. “We want to identify markers of oxidative stress, which can be correlated to microbial inactivation.”

Madison Purifoy, a graduating senior participating in a science summer program for exceptional high school seniors, explains her findings in an experiment where she tested e coli in synthetic fluid using UV radiation to see if it will grow or create mutations. Purifoy is from Plano West Senior High School in Plano, Texas. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

The team will develop chemical and biological sensors (biodosimeters) to quantify the UV dose delivered to pathogenic targets ensuring accurate dose delivery. The overall integrated approach will generate fundamental knowledge on the inactivation of viruses and bacterial spores on bench and commercial UV systems. Members of federal agencies including USDA-ARS, US-FDA, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada are on the advisory board. Patras’s grant is one of the few awarded by the AFRI Foundation and Applied Science Program in the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Among Patras’ team at TSU is Taylor Ribeiro, a third-year Ph.D. student in biological sciences, who is working on the inactivation of bacterial in blue berry-flavored functional beverage. She said it feels good to be working with something that’s in the forefront of technology because “current pasteurization methods are starting to fail us.”

Some members of Dr. Patras’s research team in the Meats Processing Lab at TSU (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

“We are starting to see outbreaks left and right. So, to be at the forefront of something that is going to be global pretty soon is a big deal for me,” said Ribeiro, who is from Chesapeake, Virginia. “I am enjoying it. I enjoy working with Dr. Petras and the rest of the team.”

In the second grant, Patras and Co-PI Dr. Hongwei Si will evaluate the cytotoxicity of irradiated liquid foods. Cytotoxicity of irradiated liquid foods must be evaluated to ensure the novel food processing techniques do not produce cytotoxic chemical compounds.

UV photons can break chemical bonds and could result in modifying compounds in foods. UV disinfection itself is the result of forming dimers (bonds) between adjacent pyrimidines in the nucleic acids of bacteria and viruses. The team aims to evaluate the cytotoxicity against normal colon, blood cells and study the protein expression of these cells. Experiments will be conducted mimicking the human gastric system.

For more information on TSU’s College Agriculture, go to 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

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Ag officials hope tariffs not long term

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University agriculture officials say they hope President Trump’s tariffs on Chinese goods is not long term.

Last month, Trump announced that tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods would go up from 10 percent to 25 percent. The U.S. has also begun investigating whether $300 billion of other Chinese goods could be subject to tariffs.

And last week, the president announced a 5 percent tariff on all Mexican goods, starting June 10, if that country does not substantially halt illegal immigration across the border.

Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of TSU’s College of Agriculture, said the tariffs are affecting producers, and that federal government subsidies may not be enough to help farmers who have to take out loans to make ends meet.

Trump unveiled a $16 billion bailout last month for farmers hurt by the trade war.

“It’s very unfortunate that agriculture gets caught in this crossfire,” Reddy said. “It’s not good for us, not good for the rest of the world. Hopefully this is short term.”

Finis Stribling is an area extension specialist and coordinator of the New Farmer Academy at TSU. He and a friend have a farm that grows cotton, corn, soybeans and rice, and they’re feeling the effect of the tariffs.

However, Stribling noted that vegetable farmers are not really affected right now, because they can set their prices.

“It just depends on what part of agriculture you’re in, whether it’s the vegetable market, the livestock market, or the grain market,” he said.

Farm groups have warned the White House against proposed new tariffs on Mexico, saying they could trigger retaliatory trade actions from Mexico and again impede exports to one of the top markets for U.S. crops and meat.  

The National Pork Producers Council, a trade group, estimated that tariffs over the last year from Mexico and China so far have cost U.S. pork producers $2.5 billion.

Despite the trade war, there is still interest in farming. Currently, more than 50 prospective farmers from across the country are participating in TSU’s New Farmer Academy, which covers topics like hydroponics and irrigation, farm equipment selection, and organic production.

Brian MacDonald travels from Orange County, California, to attend the seven-month class that meets the third Monday in each month. He said he’s aware of the effect tariffs are having on farmers, but he’s not letting it discourage him from becoming an organic farmer.

“I have this dream of owning a farm,” said MacDonald, who is a retired president and chief financial officer for an electronics company. “It’s a dream I’ve had for the last couple of years.”

For more information 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

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. 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 continues to stay at forefront of hemp research with second workshop this year

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is staying at the forefront of hemp research, a growing topic across the country.

Attendees at Sept. 26 hemp workshop. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

The university’s College of Agriculture hosted a workshop on Wednesday, Sept. 26, to discuss the latest research on the plant. It was the second workshop TSU had this year.  The last one was in March.

“TSU wants to be at the forefront of this new interest that’s cropping up across the country,” said Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of the College of Agriculture. “If it’s ever approved for large scale use, we have some knowledge about it and can work with the farmers.”

Dr. Fitzroy Bullock, one of TSU’s leading hemp researchers and coordinator of the latest workshop, agreed.

“Hemp is being grown just about everywhere in the country, but the growers don’t really have a research base,” Bullock said. “So what we’re doing here at Tennessee State University is taking a leadership role in trying to establish a base for research.”

Hemp, or industrial hemp, typically found in the northern hemisphere, is a variety of the Cannabis sativa plant species that is grown specifically for the industrial uses of its derived products. It is used for all kinds of products, from clothing to food.

TSU’s College of Agriculture has charged a team of scientists to develop hemp production practices for Tennessee. The research projects include developing hemp nutritional products for human consumption and studying the economic viability of hemp production in Tennessee.

Channel 2 (WKRN) reporter CB Cotton interviews farmer Michael Walls, who attended the workshop on Sept. 26. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Currently, the university is growing and evaluating 10 varieties of hemp.

Farmer Michael Walls attended Thursday’s workshop. His family has a 140-acre farm in Hardeman County that is using an acre to grow hemp. He said workshops like the one at TSU are beneficial.

“There’s a lot of potential for what hemp can do,” said Walls, adding that his family plans to grow more hemp next year. “So I’m just trying to get more information to see what other possibilities there are.”

For more information 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, 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.

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.