Plans Include Honoring Distinguished Alumni, Tailgating Activities, and Celebrating mAGic Moments
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture will celebrate Ag Day Saturday, September 30, 2017, at the Brehm Animal Science Building on the Agriculture campus in Knoxville. The event will start at 11 a.m., a few hours before kickoff of the Tennessee-Georgia football game.


Ag Day is where farming, tailgating and Big Orange spirit come together— and a chance to welcome back UTIA friends and alumni. It is free to the public, and includes music, farm animals, free popcorn and ice cream, a delicious ribeye meal for purchase, an interactive social media wall, an insect petting zoo, departmental exhibits, and a visit from Vol mascot Smokey. People attending Ag Day may also receive a free, clear bag with a UTIA logo that can be used inside Neyland Stadium.


“We look forward to welcoming our friends, alumni and the public to the Institute of Agriculture campus for this year’s Ag Day,” says Tim Cross, UTIA Chancellor. “This is a fun, family event, so we encourage everyone to attend and experience our campus.”


Ag Day 2017 will also include a display about the “TN 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 in this effort.


“Ag Day will feature many magic moments,” says Lisa Stearns, Vice Chancellor of Marketing and Communications for UTIA. “Whether it’s your child petting an animal, visiting a favorite display, or enjoying a great meal, we hope everyone will share these moments on their favorite social media site with the hashtag #TNmagicmoments.”


Ag Day will also include the presentation of the Institute’s Meritorious Service Award to longtime friend and supporter Charles Wharton of Winchester, Tennessee. Charles and his late wife, Julie, sponsor an annual award honoring three UT Extension agents statewide for outstanding service in agriculture, family and consumer sciences and 4-H youth development. The Whartons have given generously to UTIA, including the UT College of Veterinary Medicine.


A recent graduate of the UT College of Veterinary Medicine will be honored with the Institute’s Horizon Award. Dr. Wesley Lyons is a native of Paris, Tennessee, and currently serves as a veterinarian with Pipestone Veterinary Services of Sycamore, Illinois. Lyons graduated from UTCVM in 2014, and also holds a degree in animal science from UT’s College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. Lyons specializes in the herd health management of large swine operations in several midwestern states.


The day also includes recognition of UT Extension’s Tennessee Farmer of the Year: Mike Robinson of Franklin County. Robinson operates Sugartree Farm near Belvidere, a farming enterprise that includes 3,300 acres of row crops and a large beef cattle herd. Robinson’s family also operates Sugartree Feeds, a store that adds value to some of their grain and forage crops. Robinson is competing as Tennessee’s representative in the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year Competition, the winner of which will be announced at the expo on October 17 in Moultrie, Georgia.


Through its mission of research, teaching and extension, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions.