UT Institute of Agriculture Celebrates Ag Day Before Tennessee-Georgia Football Game

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U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue Will Attend as a Special Guest​

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Smokey is expected to howl at the Ag Day celebration hosted by the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture. Come “sing” with him and learn about the importance of agriculture to the state of Tennessee and beyond.

Ag Day is where farming, tailgating and Big Orange spirit come together. This year’s event is Saturday, October 5, at the Brehm Animal Science Building. The start time is 2:30 p.m., a few hours before kickoff of the Tennessee-Georgia game. 

Ag Day 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, of course, a visit from Vol mascot Smokey. People attending Ag Day may also receive a free, clear bag with a UTIA logo that can be taken inside Neyland Stadium.

This year UTIA celebrates agriculture with a theme of “Our Future’s So Bright …” You can get free sunglasses and purchase a t-shirt as part of this theme. 

The UTIA campus will welcome a special guest to the event, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. Students of the Herbert College of Agriculture and the College of Veterinary Medicine will meet with Perdue during his campus visit to share their experiences at UTIA along with their career goals. Perdue also attended Ag Day in 2017. 

“We like to think of ourselves as one big family at the Institute, and ‘Ag Day’ is when we welcome our family home,” says Tim Cross, UTIA senior vice-president and senior vice chancellor. “We’re pleased to have Secretary Perdue back with us, along with so many great friends and supporters. It’s our day to celebrate the Institute and agriculture across Tennessee, and we encourage everyone to come join us.” 

The celebration will include recognition the 2019 Tennessee Farmer of the Year, Jerry Ray of Tullahoma, who will represent the state October 15 at the Sunbelt Ag Expo in Moultrie, Georgia, in the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year competition. Ray farms 1,900 acres in Moore County, where he raises corn, wheat, soybeans, hay and lots of cattle — more than 1,400 head of stocker cattle. 

Ag Day will also include the presentation of the Institute’s Meritorious Service Award to longtime 4-H staffer Ruth Henderson-McQueen. McQueen served nearly 30 years with UT Extension, first as an agent in Sequatchie County, and later in the state office on the UTIA campus. McQueen developed international programming for 4-H, and was involved in 4-H Roundup and Congress, as well as mentoring and training 4-H agents. Today McQueen continues to serve as a 4-H volunteer and supporter.

Ag Day will also serve as a send-off to UTIA’s Horizon Award winner for 2019. Seiche Genger, DVM, is a 2014 graduate of the UT College of Veterinary Medicine, and now the East Asia technical manager for Hy-Line International, an American-owned multi-national company that raises and sells egg-laying chickens. Genger will soon move to Thailand to supervise the company’s poultry operations throughout Asia and Australia. Genger works in veterinary care and food safety for Hy-Line.  

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

Media Contact

Charles Denney

UTIA Marketing and Communications