Tag Archives: Small Farm Expo

Small Farm Expo showcases TSU’s nationally recognized research

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – More than 300 agricultural experts, farmers and officials attended Tennessee State University’s Small Farm Expo on Thursday.

Small Farmer of the Year recipient Nicole Riddle. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

In its 13th year, TSU officials say the expo at the Pavilion Agricultural Research and Education Center (The Farm) is a way for the university and its partners on the state and federal levels to recognize the role farmers and agriculture play in the state and the nation.

“We at TSU focus our work to support the small farms and this expo recognizes the outstanding farmers with innovative ideas,” said Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of TSU’s College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences. “Also, participants get to see the best field research of TSU scientists and personally meet federal and state Ag leadership.”

Goats in TSU research program. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

The expo featured speakers and agricultural research tours with TSU faculty. Topics ranged from organic agriculture to cattle and goat research, all of which have been recognized nationally.

However, the highlight of the expo was the announcement of the Small Farmer of the Year, which went to Nicole Riddle of Maynardville, Tennessee. Riddle leased 44 acres of her parents’ land and opened her own winery in 2015.

“The Winery at Seven Springs Farm is the most successful new start rural winery in the state of Tennessee,” wrote Area Specialist Charles Morris. “In an unprecedented showing, her wines received five Concordance Gold Medals, including Best of Muscadine, and three Silver Medals at the 2015 Wines of the South Competition.”

Dr. Suresh Sureshwaran, director of the division of community education with the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, said TSU’s agricultural research over the years is impressive, particularly its goat research.

Earlier this year, TSU received a $496,328 federal grant to expand its research on goat meat production.

Dexter bull. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

“Goats are becoming an important new commodity for small farmers,” Sureshwaran said. “But many in the United States don’t know how to produce, or how to sell goat. I think more research is needed, and what Tennessee State is doing is extremely good.”

TSU also has a Dexter cattle-breeding program, the only one of its kind currently in U.S. higher education. The Dexter cattle are being used to assess the potential of small-breed cattle for small-scale beef production.

“We’re hoping people will see that there are alternatives to traditional livestock production,” said Dr. Richard Browning, who heads the Dexter and goat research. “The concept of having a small non-traditional breed like that is something they say might work on their farm. The same with the goats.”

Goat meat served at expo. (Photo by Courtney Buggs, TSU Media Relations)

Regardless of the type of research, TSU junior Kayla Sampson, an agriculture science major, said the expo is beneficial because students who attend are able to learn from invited experts and officials.

“It helps broaden our knowledge during the summer,” Sampson said. “So when the school year starts, we’re a step ahead.”

For more information about TSU’s College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/agriculture/index.aspx.

 

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 38 undergraduate, 25 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.

Conservation Expert at TSU Small Farm Expo Says US Running Low on Farmable Land; Highlights Critical Role of Small Farmers

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – A federal conservationist has warned that the United States is running out of farmable agriculture land to grow enough food for its growing population.

IMG_7523 (1)
Leonard Jordan

Leonard Jordan, associate chief for Conservation at the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, said the acreage of agriculture land in the U.S. has decreased by 30-35 million acres in the last 30 years while the nation’s population continues to grow.

“This is alarming.” Jordan said. “Anytime there is a growth in the number of people who rely on food and fiber for their survival, and there is less acreage to produce it on, that should be a concern.”

Jordan, a 1977 graduate of Tennessee State University with a B.S. degree in plant and soil science, was the keynote speaker July 21 at the 12th annual Small Farm Expo at TSU’s Agricultural Research and Education Center or “The Farm.”

IMG_7548 (1)
From left, Dr. Latin Lighari, associate dean for Cooperative Extension; Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of CAHNS; and Tennessee Commissioner of Agriculture, Jai Templeton, far right, present Mike and Karen Minnis with the Farmer of the Year Award. (Photo by Courtney Buggs, TSU Media Relations)

The Expo also recognized the state’s top farmer with the Small Farmer of the Year Award. That honor went to the husband and wife team of Mike and Karen Minnis, crop farmers from Memphis, Tennessee. They were recognized for “Best Management Practices and Innovative Marketing.”

Jordan said with these “alarming statistics,” the nation is depending more on small farmers to fill the gap of growing enough crops for its people.

“Their role is very critical,” he said about small farmers. “The figures tell us that the things that they do in their operations are more important today than they have ever been. You (small farmers) should feel good about what you do each and every day. We owe you more than you ever know,” he said.

TSU President Glenda Glover agreed with Jordan, calling small farmers the “back bone” of America.

“It is very exciting to see this many people here today to celebrate our small farmers,” she said. “Our small farmers are the backbone of America, and it is very important that we take this time to recognize them. I applaud you (the small farmers) for the work that you do and continue to do to not only feed us but to encourage and prepare future farmers. I thank Dean (Chandra) Reddy and the College of Agriculture, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture and all sponsors for your support in making this expo successful.”

IMG_7438
Ashton Kirkpatrick, a seventh-grader from Northeast Middle School in Jackson, left; and Drayton Hawkins, an eleventh-grader from Haywood High School in Memphis, participate in a sustainable living exercise in the Urban Green mobile lab at the expo. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media relations)

More than 400 agricultural experts, farmers and officials from across Tennessee and the U.S. Department of Agriculture attended the one-day expo. Busloads of middle and high school students from as far as Jackson and Memphis, Tennessee participated in the event.

The expo featured livestock shows, tractor pulls and tours, traditional agricultural displays and demonstrations, and mobile educational units, including a planting and harvesting simulator, and the Urban Green Lab on sustainable living.

Also on hand was Jai Templeton, who made his first appearance as the new commissioner of agriculture for Tennessee.

Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences, thanked the award winners, small farmers, federal and state agency representatives, sponsors, guests and visitors for their participation.

“This annual Expo, now in its 12th year, is a way for Tennessee State University and our partners on the federal and state levels to recognize the role farmers and agriculture play in the state and the nation,” Reddy said. “We are grateful to Dr. Latif Lighari for his leadership of the Cooperative Extension Program, and his team for ensuring another successful Expo.”

Other farmers receiving awards were: Charles Jordan for “Most Improved Beginning Small Farmer”; and husband and wife team of Jim and Deanna Malooley, for “Best Management Practices.”

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 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.

2016 TSU Small Farm Expo and Farmer of the Year Recognition Expected to Draw More than 400 on July 21

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – About 400 agricultural experts, farmers and officials from across Tennessee and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are expected to attend this year’s Small Farm 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 21 at 8:45 a.m., 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, Farm Credit of Mid America, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and the Farm Services Bureau, among others.

Featured research and activities will focus on organic urban and AA9_1140[1]vertical agriculture, portable livestock fencing, greenhouse gas emission, soybean genomic research, and enhancing plant protection against fungal diseases and environmental stresses. The U.S. Food Modernization Act and its implications for small farmers and restaurant owners will also be discussed, along with updates from the Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program, and the USDA Farm Service Agency.

Activities will also include field plot tours, educational workshops, and exhibits of agricultural products, and farming tools and implements.

The Expo will culminate at 12:30 p.m., with the Small Farmer Recognition and Award ceremony that will include the President of TSU, Dr. Glenda Glover; Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, Jai Templeton; 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, among others.

More details on the Expo can be found at http://goo.gl/4t31wt.

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 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 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.

IMG_6358
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.