UTIA Honors UT Extension Specialist Ryan Blair 

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UT Institute of Agriculture Presents Top Faculty and Staff Awards for 2022 

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture recognized some of its top faculty, staff, researchers and Extension experts at UTIA’s annual Awards and Promotions luncheon on the UTIA campus in Knoxville August 16, 2022. Many of the awards are gifts made possible by faculty, alumni and friends of the Institute.  

UT Institute of Agriculture Senior Vice Chancellor and Senior Vice President Carrie Castille hosted the award winners and celebrated their work. “I am so excited to recognize excellence as exemplified by the award-winning members of our UTIA faculty and staff,” Castille says. “Their continuing commitment to our land-grant mission ensures that the Institute develops and delivers real-life solutions to improve the health and economy of our state and beyond while also enhancing our environment.” 
Ryan Blair, an Extension Area Specialist in UTIA’s Western Region Office in Jackson, is one of three statewide winners of the TAAA&S-Hicks Awards of Excellence. Established by the Tennessee Association of Agricultural Agents and Specialists and other endowment funds, this award is presented annually to up to three agricultural Extension faculty who are also members of TAAA&S. The award is also named in honor of UT Extension Dean Emeritus Billy Hicks. The other winners for 2022 are Jason Garrett with UT Extension in Overton County and Bruce Steelman with UT Extension in Lincoln County. 

Blair says he’s honored to be recognized by TAAA&S. “The Association offers opportunities to engage with folks across the state and build relationships that help make Extension in Tennessee so strong,” he says.  

Blair has been with UTIA 12 years, with service also in the Department of Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science. He specializes in variety testing of cotton, corn, soybeans and wheat. He then gathers results and shares the information with producers to help them make decisions on what plant variety to use to maximize yield potential. He also works with youth to increase their knowledge of agriculture and help them explore possible career opportunities. 

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

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