Celebrating 50 Years of Service

While agriculture has been a part of the university’s research and education programs since the 1800s, the Institute of Agriculture was formed just 50 years ago in 1968. Throughout 2018, faculty, staff and alumni are celebrating the institute’s golden anniversary. Chancellor Tim Cross says UTIA is more than buildings. “Our faculty and staff, regardless of their role, have a heart to help people.” UTIA includes Extension, AgResearch and the Colleges of Agriculture and Natural Resources and Veterinary Medicine, each with a mission to serve the people of Tennessee. “Our research and outreach efforts impact things like crop production, improving water quality and reducing soil erosion. We’ve helped forest owners adopt sustainable and environmentally friendly techniques for harvesting, managing and growing timber, and we’ve improved animal care and welfare,” Cross says. The institute also impacts Tennessee families through its 4-H youth development program and through family and consumer sciences educational efforts.

Andrew Muhammad
Photo by T. Salvador, Courtesy UTIA

Institute Welcomes New Policy Expert

Andrew Muhammad has been selected the Blasingame Chair of Excellence for Agricultural, Food, Resource and International Trade Policy. Muhammad previously was with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service. There, he was associate director of the market and trade economics division and was chief of the international demand and trade branch. Muhammad will assist state and national agricultural decision makers in evaluating potential policies and programs for agricultural commodities, food and nutrition, natural resources and international trade, and advocating for state and regional agricultural opportunities. Bernard and Margaret Blasingame established the Blasingame Chair of Excellence in 1989 through an endowment to UTIA’s department of agricultural and resource economics.

photomontage of tennessee plants

Tennessee’s Top 10 Plants

A new effort by UT plant sciences researchers is trying to determine Tennessee’s 10 most influential plants. Imagine Florida without oranges or Georgia without peaches. What are the plants that say “Tennessee?” Researchers are asking for nominations that have most influenced the state’s food, economy, health, history, landscape or culture. Nominations will be considered by a panel of experts based on the plants’ impact—positive or negative—across Tennessee’s history. The effort is to develop K-5 curricula for schools that introduce students to how plants influence economics and history, while teaching a little biology and climatology. What plant says Tennessee to you? Nominate the loved or loathed species of your choice at: tenplants.tennessee.edu