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A Message from Dean Bill Brown

It's football time in Tennessee ... and if you're like me, you've probably already heard Rocky Top more times this month than you can count. It's a fun time to be on campus and we're looking forward to cheering on the Tennessee Vols to a great season.

The UT AgResearch team has had our own share of wins this summer! Many of our top faculty and staff were recognized at the annual Awards and Promotions Luncheon. We launched a multimedia interactive display in the Plant Biotech Building that tells the story of Tennessee agricultural research. Several of our researchers received UTIA's first Seed Grants for international programs. The Cumberland County Farm Bureau named the Plateau AgResearch and Education Center a 2016 Friend of Agriculture. Field Days are always excellent each year, but the program content, use of technology, condition of the AgResearch and Education Centers, and large attendance seems to have ramped up a notch this year. This is a testament to the high quality of UTIA programs and the hard work by faculty and staff at the AgResearch Centers.

We've also added new members to our team who will help us advance the UTIA mission. In August, Drs. David White and Tim Rials joined UT AgResearch, each as Associate Dean for Research and Associate Director of the Tennessee Agricultural Experiment Station. Many of you know Tim, as he was Director of the UT Center for Renewable Carbon. David joins UTIA from the Food and Drug Administration. Both men bring extensive experience and success in leading research programs, working with stakeholders at many different levels, and finding solutions for our clientele. Dave and Tim will help work across departments, academic programs, and extension to assist our faculty and staff in addressing the grand challenges facing agriculture. Welcome, also, to Dr. DeWayne Shoemaker, the new department head for Entomology and Plant Pathology.

Our Faculty Priorities Effort is still very much a priority. The committee has received twenty-one proposals regarding future programs and faculty positions. A follow-up forum will be held on September 27 to gain additional input from faculty and administrators.

Keep reading for more information on the outstanding research programs, ideas, and opportunities created by our UT AgResearch team. It's very satisfying to fill a newsletter with so much good news. Let's keep the winning streak alive! As always, we welcome your comments and questions.


International Programs Showcase
September 21, 2016–
Hollinsworth Auditorium, Knoxville

Ag Day 2016
September 24, 2016–
Brehm Animal Science Arena, Knoxville

Ag 3 Day Startup
September 30 - October 2, 2016–
156/157 Plant Biotech,

See all events

Top Tweets

"Dr. @jdrhinehart conducts ultrasounds pregnancy exam at #HeiferDevelopment Center. @TNFarmers @TNAgriculture"...

"Graduates from @utmartin designed this year's #MilanNoTill logos. @JSunNews"...

"Forester Nathen Hoover reminds us to burn local firewood to prevent the spread of disease. @TNAgriculture @bdsims58"...

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Trending Now

The University of Tennessee Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology has released a mobile-friendly disease field guide that will help growers, agents, and consultants quickly assess foliar diseases in their soybean fields. Read more about this new resource here.

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

New Associate Deans Announced for UT AgResearch

UT AgResearch is pleased to welcome Dr. David White and Dr. Tim Rials to the positions of Associate Dean for Research and Associate Director of the Tennessee Agricultural Experiment Station (UT AgResearch). Both Associate Deans began their new roles during the month of August.

Dr. White joins us from the US Food and Drug Administration (USDA) where he was the

Chief Science Officer and Research Director. Dr. Tim Rials joins us from the UTIA Center for Renewable Carbon where he served as director. Read more about the two newest members of our team...

Faculty Promotion and Tenure 2016

On August 5, ten AgResearch, Extension, and CASNR faculty were promoted; six of those faculty also received tenure. The promotions were recognized during UTIA's annual Awards and Promotions Luncheon held in Knoxville. Congratulations to all promoted faculty. You can read more about these faculty and their work here.

Top AgResearch Faculty Presented with Awards
at UTIA Luncheon

Three top AgResearch faculty received awards at the 2016 Awards and Promotions Luncheon in early August. Among them was Dr. Don Tyler, from the Department of Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science, who received the AgResearch Impact Award. This award is given to a faculty member whose efforts have had a profound effect on improving efficiency, sustainability and/or economic viability of the food and fiber industry or rural areas in Tennessee. Dr. Tyler is best known for his work in no-till crop production and was named a "Champion of Change for Sustainable Agriculture" by the White House late last year.

Dr. Jennifer DeBruyn of the Department of Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science and Shigetoshi Eda of the Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries were also award winners. Read more about our award recipients here.

New Ventures | Learn How to Start a Company—by Starting a Company!

Do you have an idea for starting a business but just don't know where to begin? Or have you ever wanted to be involved in a start-up but didn't have an idea that you thought would work? If so, the upcoming Ag 3-Day Startup (Ag 3DS) entrepreneurial program is for you.

The application deadline is September 16. To register and learn more about the event visit

New Head for Department of Entomology & Plant Pathology

On June 30, Deans Tim Cross, Bill Brown, and Caula Beyl announced the appointment of DeWayne Shoemaker as the new department head for the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology.

Shoemaker joins UTIA after serving as a successful research scientist with USDA-ARS at the Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology in Gainesville, Florida. He previously served as a faculty member at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and at Western Michigan University. He holds BS and PhD degrees in entomology from the University of Georgia.

Shoemaker began work on August 15. Please join with us in welcoming him to the Institute and in thanking Karen Vail for the excellent leadership she has provided as interim head.

Story Tells History of Tennessee Agriculture

Guests to the Plant Biotech Building can now make their trips more educational by visiting the History of Agricultural Research in Tennessee display on the second floor. The project is a collaboration of AgResearch, the Office of Sponsored Programs, and Marketing and Communications and took over 18 months to design and install.

"Agriculture is the foundation of society," Dean Bill Brown says. "This display clearly shows the incredible contributions and impacts agriculture has made not only to Tennessee, but also the world. When you see it, you’ll be proud to be a part of an industry that makes everything else in our lives possible."

Take a virtual tour of the display with CASNR Ambassador Anna Ingleburger and read more about the development of this project here.

Taking a Step Toward a Biobased Economy

A small stand of poplar trees harvested from a University of Tennessee AgResearch Center is set to help scientists progress further down the path toward low-cost, high-quality biomass and a bioeconomy.

The plot is part of a five-year, $15 million multi-disciplinary research and development effort funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to reduce barriers to development of the Southeastern bioeconomy. UT's Center for Renewable Carbon (CRC), within the UT Institute of Agriculture, leads the effort, called the Southeastern Partnership for Integrated Biomass Solutions, or IBSS. Read more...

Faculty 360 | Sindhu Jagadamma

Faculty 360 is an all-around look at a UT AgResearch faculty member. In this issue we feature Sindhu Jagadamma, assistant professor in the Department of Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science. Jagadamma joined UTIA in April 2016. Her research primarily focuses on identifying best soil and nutrient management options for sustainable food production. Jagadamma received her PhD in Soil Science from the Ohio State University in 2009. Before joining UT, she was a postdoctoral researcher at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and UT's Civil and Environmental Engineering department. Jagadamma is a native of India and enjoys spending time with family and friends in her spare time.

Learn more about Sindhu in this Q & A. More...

Preparing "Big Grants"—How to Lead a Team Effort

Dr. Doug Hayes, Professor in the Department of Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science, lends his experience and shares his expertise in writing "big grants"—grants involving multiple investigators, institutes, and/or academic disciplines. Hayes says the key is to focus on developing proposals that are truly compelling (transformative) and to plan ahead. Writing proposals for big grants is a "challenging journey that requires self-commitment, dedicated teammates, and compelling, transformative research to solve a grand challenge." More...

Answers to Farmers' Questions

Each year, commodities account for $4.27 billion in agricultural sales for the state of Tennessee. Soybean, cotton, and tobacco are three commodities that are advanced through commodity groups. Money is raised through product sales and industry giving to support research, provide grower education, offer extension agent training, and fund student internship programs.

"Continued funding of research is necessitated by the ever changing array of pests, crops protection products, varieties, and equipment, as well as the diversity of grower practices," says Ryan Kurtz, director of agricultural research for Cotton Incorporated. More...

Five Things You Didn't Know about
the AgResearch and Education Center at Milan

Situated in the heart of the state's row crop production area, the AgResearch and Education Center at Milan facilitates nearly 200 research projects annually on Tennessee's leading row crops: corn, cotton, soybeans, and wheat. The Center is the birthplace of "ugly farming," and "no-till" system has been protecting soil ever since. You'll also find the West Tennessee Ag Museum at Milan where over 15,000 pieces of agriculture-related history are on display. Here are a few extra facts about the Center.

Plateau AgResearch and Education Center
Named 2016 Farm Bureau Friend of Agriculture

The Cumberland County Farm Bureau has named the University of Tennessee Plateau AgResearch and Education Center as its 2016 Friend of Agriculture. Bill Brown, dean of UT AgResearch, accepted the award July 23 at the organization's annual meeting and picnic. Center director Walt Hitch and retired superintendent, Dr. Robert Freeland, were also recognized. Collectively, the two have managed the facility for a combined total of forty-four years. More...

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