UT Helps Tennessee Farmers Feed the World

By Randy Boyd

UT System President Randy Boyd, center, and UT AgResearch Dean Hongwei Xin, right, with assistant professor of entomology Jennifer Tsuruda and a bee colony at the Organic Farming and Gardening Field Day.
UT System President Randy Boyd
UT System President Randy Boyd learns about the honeybee during the UTIA Organic Farming and Gardening Field Day. Photo By Sam Thomas

Good food brings good people together.

Whether it’s enjoying a slugburger at Pat’s Café in Selmer or a slice of fried bologna at RM Brooks Store in Rugby, some of my fondest memories involve gathering around a table or lunch counter with family and friends. Sitting down to a meal plays a role in helping solve the complex problems or issues of the day as people discuss potential differences around the commonality of good food.

When I began my tenure as the president of the UT System, I set a goal to visit each of the 95 Extension offices in Tennessee, as well as our 10 AgResearch Centers. It was truly inspirational to see the amazing men and women who dedicate their lives to making their communities and our state better through agriculture. They are incredible ambassadors for our university and our state.

There are thousands of examples of how UT impacts our most critical need to nourish our communities. In Milan, the AgResearch and Education Center conducts more than 100 research projects with corn, cotton, soybeans, grain-sorghum, wheat and cover crops. These studies concern crop rotations, tillage systems, row width, plant population, varietal evaluation, date of planting, fertilizer rates and sources, remote sensing, precision agriculture and irrigation of row crops. And, at the AgResearch and Education Center on the Cumberland Plateau, research data from its annual fruit and vegetable variety trials inform growers large and small in Tennessee and across the nation. They are most noted for studies in beef, squash, muskmelons, watermelons, pumpkins, greens, cabbage, green beans, apples, blueberries and tomatoes.

What does it all come down to? We help our farmers feed Tennessee, the nation and the world. And that’s something that we’re proud to do.

Randy Boyd, Knoxville ’79