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/
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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.