The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture will celebrate Ag Day Saturday, October 3, 2015, at the Brehm Animal Science Building on the agriculture campus in Knoxville -- starting four hours before the kickoff of the Tennessee-Arkansas football game. At this time, the Southeastern Conference has said the game will be either a 7 p.m. or 7:30 p.m. kickoff.
This annual event where farming, tailgating and Big Orange spirit come together is to welcome back UTIA friends and alumni. It is free to the public, and includes live music, live animals, free popcorn and ice cream, a delicious ribeye meal for purchase, an insect petting zoo, departmental exhibits, tours and a visit from Vol mascot Smokey.
“This is a special day for us at the Institute as we celebrate our faculty, staff and friends,” said Larry Arrington, UTIA Chancellor. “Agriculture has a significant impact on our state’s economy and this is our opportunity to showcase the work we do at UTIA to contribute.”
Ag Day 2015 will also include a sneak peek at the “mAGic Moments” campaign, a statewide initiative focused on how agriculture is an integral part of creating memorable moments that are part of everyday life. UTIA is partnering with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation and many producer groups from across the state to launch the campaign later in October.
“Every day, Tennesseans are sharing their special moments on social media,” said Lisa Stearns, Vice Chancellor of Marketing and Communications for UTIA. “Our hope is that, as these moments are shared, people will think about how agriculture influences every one of them.”
“Consider how agriculture contributes to our own daily magic moments. Take your kid’s soccer game, for instance. There’s the food they eat before playing, but also the cotton used for their uniforms, the turf they run on, and the leather used for the ball,” said Stearns. “How about a wedding day? There’s food and clothing, but also the beautiful flowers, and even the hardwood floor where a couple shares their first dance. Without farmers and agriculture, enjoying these magical moments would be almost impossible.”
Ag Day will also include the presentation of the Institute’s Horizon Award to UTIA alumni David Flynn with Farm Credit Services, and the Meritorious Service Award to UT College of Veterinary Medicine alumnus Dr. Reid Harvey, now an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The day also includes recognition of UT Extension’s Tennessee Farmer of the Year, George Clay of Grundy County.
Ag Day 2015 also includes a tour of the new Athan J. Sterges Engineering and Soil Science Learning and Innovation Hub. This teaching lab is where students will learn to use sensors and wireless technology to observe and control real-world engineering systems. Described as sort of “distance learning in reverse,” data will be collected from sites across Tennessee and analyzed in the Knoxville hub. The lab is named in honor of Dr. Athan J. Sterges, who taught on the UT agriculture campus from 1947 to 1962.