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A Message from Dean Bill Brown

Tennessee is a dynamic and diverse state. We're home to booming cities, thriving communities, and of course, a strong agricultural sector. More than 40 percent of Tennessee's land area is still farmland, managed by producers who are ready to meet the needs of the ever-changing population that surrounds them. To be a university that keeps up with a state like Tennessee requires willingness to adapt and eagerness to grow.


At UT AgResearch we're eager to grow new ideas that make Tennessee an even better place to live and work. This is evident in the quality of research our faculty generate and our rising stature among other universities and institutions. In this newsletter, we'll highlight several of our faculty's new concepts, technologies and ventures.

And speaking of new ventures... a special member of the UT AgResearch team is beginning one. Dr. Steve Oliver will officially begin his retirement soon. Be sure to read our tribute article. Special thanks to past and present colleagues for honoring Dr. Oliver with heartfelt (and sometimes side-splitting) memories.

To bring you up-to-date, progress has been made in the search for Dr. Oliver's replacement. We have identified three candidates and are in the process of scheduling interviews for this spring. More information will be coming soon.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this eNewsletter. I certainly enjoy sharing the many successes of our faculty, staff, departments, and AgResearch and Education Centers. I'm proud of our growth, our ability to adapt to a changing world, and our impact on agricultural research. As always, we welcome your comments and questions.


Junior Bull Test Sale
March 10, 2016–
Middle Tennessee AgResearch Center,
Spring Hill

Faculty Fellows,
Session V

March 15, 2016–

Grass Fed Beef Conference
March 17, 2016–
Middle Tennessee AgResearch Center,
Spring Hill

See all events

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"Thanks for stopping by the @UTIAg #AllVolCheese booth @UTPresidentJoe! @UTKFoodSci #UTDay on the Hill" ...

"Weigh day at the TN #BeefDevelopment program @jdrhinehart @TNAgriculture @TNFarmers" ...

"Check out the @UTIAg display for #UTDay on the Hill" ...

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Trending Now

The UT Research Foundation presented its 2016 B. Otto and Kathleen Wheeley Award for Excellence in Technology Transfer to Shigetoshi Eda, associate professor in the Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries, and to Jayne Wu, associate professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. More ...

Is something noteworthy happening in your department? Email and your accomplishment might be featured in the next issue of this newsletter.

Down to the Short Rows
Dr. Oliver set to Retire After 31 Years

Dr. Stephen P. Oliver, referred to affectionately as "SPO," began working at the University of Tennessee in 1984 as an assistant professor in the Department of Animal Science. He served as professor in the Department of Animal Science for twenty-six years. During this time, he established a nationally and internationally recognized research program on milk quality and dairy food safety. Among his awards and recognitions, Dr. Oliver received the 2009 Chancellor's Award for Research and Creative Achievement, the 2004 Gamma Sigma Delta Faculty Team Research Award of Merit as a member of the Cloning Research Team, and the 2001 University of Tennessee/Oak Ridge National Laboratory Science Alliance Research Award.

In 2010, Dr. Oliver began serving as Assistant Dean of AgResearch. In this role, he focuses on UT AgResearch programs by facilitating the development of multidisciplinary faculty teams that united departments and institutions. He also promotes AgResearch relationships with commodity groups, agencies, and professional groups. Dr. Oliver will retire this summer with plans to serve in a post-retirement role to provide guidance to the new Assistant Dean of AgResearch. In his retirement, he plans to spend time with family, including his wife, two sons, daughter, and three Labrador retrievers. He will split his time between a beach condo in Florida and lakefront home in Maryville. Dr. Oliver, we wish you all the luck in the world! Colleagues, mentors, and friends share stories...

Faculty 360 | Meg Staton

You see them on campus, but do you know what makes them tick? Faculty 360 is an all-around look at a UT AgResearch faculty member. In this issue we feature Dr. Meg Staton, assistant professor in Entomology and Plant Pathology. Learn more about Meg in this Q & A. More ...

New Ventures | Creative Agricultural Technologies, LLC

Beginning a new venture, be it a business, investment or special project, takes bravery and resolve. As our faculty and staff map out impactful new journeys, we'll take you along for the ride.

Creative Agricultural Technologies (CAT) licenses patented disease-resistant dogwood cultivars from the University of Tennessee for production and sale by wholesale growers. The dogwood cultivars were developed by University

of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture researchers Dr. Robert N. Trigiano, Dr. Mark T. Windham, and Dr. Alan S. Windham of the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, and by Dr. Willard T. Witte, who is retired from the Department of Ornamental Horticulture and Landscape Design. The company was formed in 2005 and is located in Maryville, Tennessee. More ...

Five Things You Didn't Know about
the East Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center

The East Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center is composed of six different units in the greater Knoxville area. It facilitates numerous and diverse research projects for UTIA faculty including turfgrass management; soybean, corn and wheat breeding; switchgrass production and processing; reproductive management in beef and dairy cattle and more. Here are a few extra facts about ETREC.

All Vol Cheese is a Hit at Legislative Plaza

The Legislative Plaza at Tennessee’s capitol was all abuzz last month during the annual UT Day on the Hill, a chance for the UT campuses and institutes to showcase their achievements. It was particularly busy at the UTIA booth, where legislators and visitors got a taste of a new project initiated by AgResearch. 'All Vol Cheese' is the first product produced through AgInnovations, a new public-private entrepreneurial program. Working with the AgInnovations staff, faculty, researchers, and students have the opportunity to turn their ideas into a business. More ...

Power Plant

A grant from ARPA-E is allowing a team from UTIA, in conjunction with collaborators at the University of Pennsylvania and University of California at Berkeley, to spend up to three years developing the technology to completely recreate plastomes.

Researchers are re-writing the "software" of plants, with a goal of developing energy-rich biofuels. Read more about the technology and its implications for the future.

2016 Field Day Schedule Announced

University of Tennessee AgResearch has released the 2016 field day schedule, which includes 10 field days and five special events.

Field days are held at the 10 AgResearch and Education Centers located throughout the state. These events offer farmers, ranchers, gardeners and the general public a chance to see research findings, learn from university and industry experts and network with peers. Get the full schedule ...

2015 Director's Awards Recipients Announced

Each year, UT AgResearch honors employees who exhibit outstanding support service at our AgResearch and Education Centers. The recipients are selected by our Center Directors.

A panel of three directors across Tennessee select award honorees based on their work performance, communication skills and abilities in implementing and reporting research projects. Through the quality of their contributions, these individuals are judged central to the research missions at their centers. This year five deserving staff members received this distinction. Meet them here.

UT AgResearch

103 Morgan Hall 2621 Morgan Circle
Knoxville, TN 37996