The sports turf portion of this tour will be hosted on the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture (UTIA), East Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center (ETREC) Plant Science Unit, Knoxville, TN. Stops also include a planned visit to Neyland Stadium on the University of Tennessee campus. Participants will observe and hear of on-going and planned investigations focused on researching athlete performance and safety testing on natural and artificial turf surfaces. Faculty researchers will share how they work closely with experts and industry professionals to advance the understanding for sports turf surface performance and safety criteria. Next, on the Organic Crops tour, participants will visit the UTIA’s ETREC Organic Crops Unit. This unit is situated on a 92-acre tract that includes seven high tunnels, a greenhouse and head house, a vegetable grading and packing facility, as well as one residential house. The primary research undertaken at ETREC-Organic Crops Unit includes vegetable-based field and variety research trials, organic management techniques, organic and sustainable forage research, no-till corn and soybeans, management practices for production of corn and soybeans with emphasis on fertility and weed control, bee and wildflower management, student market garden, tomato variety testing, vegetable production on biodegradable mulches, and extensive use of cover crops for prevention of erosion, improving organic matter content of the soil, and for overall sustainability.
ADVISEMENT: This tour will contain a 2-hour bus ride to the destination and a minimal 2 hour ride back. There will also be moderate walking, so comfortable shoes are recommended.