A third-generation dairy farmer, John Harrison of Sweetwater Valley Farm in Philadelphia, Tennessee, has been named the Tennessee Farmer of the year by UT Extension. Harrison is shown here with some of his family who help on the farm. Left to right: daughter Mary Lyndal; Harrison; his wife, Celia; and son Charles. Photo Courtesy Sweetwater Valley Farm
On Sept. 24, UTIA held a traditional in-person Ag Day—an annual celebration of all things “ag” and UTIA. The 2021 event was virtual.
Attendees in 2022 enjoyed department exhibits and entertainment; and, yes, once again, cricket spitting was a thing.
Alumnus John Harrison (Knoxville ’81), owner of Sweetwater Valley Farm in Philadelphia, Tennessee, was honored as the Tennessee Farmer of the Year, and Dr. Andrea Cole (Knoxville ’14, ’15), a veterinarian and epidemiologist, was named winner of the Horizon Award. Mark Wilson (Knoxville ’76), a retired vice president with Farm Credit Mid-America, was honored with the Meritorious Service Award.
Keeping Food Waste out of Landfills
Many landfills are projected to be full in less than 10 years, so communities are interested in removing food waste from the waste stream. Nearly one-third of landfill waste consists of food waste that could be redirected to alternative reduction methods; however, addressing the problem presents communities with significant challenges related to policy, technology and cost-effectiveness. The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research awarded a Seeding Solutions grant to UTIA to develop and execute a food waste Decision Support System (DSS), enabling city planners to evaluate innovative waste reduction solutions and technologies. Matching funds were provided by Metro Nashville, Resource Capture, UT and Urban Green Lab for a total $616,378 investment. Principal investigator Chad Hellwinckel, research associate professor of agricultural economics, says multi-scale, multi-technology solutions like DSS are better able to meet and evolve with urban food systems’ unique challenges.
“GARD’ing” Amphibians, Reptiles and Other Species
More than 250 scientists from 25 countries gathered in Knoxville Aug. 4-10, either in person or virtually, for the inaugural Global Amphibian and Reptile Disease (GARD) Conference. Pioneering research through the UTIA Center for Wildlife Health resulted in Knoxville’s selection as host city.
The conference included 149 scientific presentations. Craig Pickett Jr., director of the UTIA Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, presented about the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion in science. UTIA’s Matt Gray and other organizers raised more than $85,000 from sponsors, including the National Science Foundation, to increase diversity, equity and inclusion at the conference by supporting participation of 44 students or early career professionals from 13 U.S. states and nine countries. Scientific discussions sought to identify similarities and differences among host-pathogen systems and identify disease management strategies that could ensure the conservation of herpetofaunal species for generations to come.
Additional animal-health gatherings recently hosted on campus include a conference for alpaca and llama owners and their veterinarians, sponsored by the Tennessee Alpaca Association and the College of Veterinary Medicine. Last spring, a gathering of K9 handlers and first responders teamed with CVM emergency care experts to explore methods of emergency management for the working dog.