Thursday, October 01, 2015

[100] MTSU farm labs open house Sept. 17 features UAVs, hemp research

MURFREESBORO — Unmanned aerial vehicles and a new crop being used for agricultural research are just two of the featured attractions available to people attending the annual MTSU Farm Laboratories Open House in Lascassas, Tennessee.

Students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of the university are invited to attend the School of Agribusiness and Agriscience open house from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 17. The event is free.

The event will be held at the farm labs — also known as the Experiential Learning and Research Center, 3211 Guy James Road.

Interim Director Jessica Carter, Farm Labs Director Matthew Wade and the students, staff and faculty hold the open house for the community to showcase students’ work and show progress with the farm and dairy.

Visitors are invited to visit the different farm areas — MTSU Dairy, gardens, apiary for beehives and more — at their leisure. After touring the dairy, visitors are welcome to drive their vehicles toward the tractor shed (pavilion where the welcome will take place and food will be served), where parking will be available.

“We want to welcome everybody who wants to come by, not only our ag alumni, but also the general public,” Carter said. “This is a good opportunity for people to come and visit — and we feed them, too.”

Carter, Wade and a number of students are all part of the welcome portion of the agenda at 5:15. Hamburgers and hot dogs will be served at 6.

Assistant professor Song Cui, who has purchased three unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs (commonly called drones) for the department, will have a booth to show-and-tell about the vehicles.

Department of Aerospace UAV expert Doug Campbell is expected to provide an unmanned vehicle he will demonstrate.

MTSU senior Clint Palmer will share news about the six varieties of hemp being grown for research in the lower front portion of the farm. MTSU received legislative approval in the past year to grow hemp.

Student agricultural organizations will be a featured focus this year.

The Dairy Science Club, Block & Bridle Club, Plant and Soil Science Club and professor Alaina Vaught’s agritourism class will be involved with many of the event’s activities.

“We want folks to see what our students are doing,” Wade said. “They are performing community service, supporting each other and just being good people, not the normal college student stereotype.”

Cows will be milked from 5 to 6 p.m. at the dairy. Wade said Lebanon, Tennessee-based Two Fat Men’s Catering, owned by Ed Riley, will bring a truck with ice cream made from the MTSU Dairy’s milk and cream.

To learn more about animal science at MTSU, visit To learn more about plant and soil science, visit

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