Event Offers Opportunity to Volunteer

A young volunteer helps package macaroni meals during the Farmers vs Hunger tour at the 2016 Milan No-Till Field Day. These meals were distributed to local food banks. Volunteers are needed at the 2018 field day coming up July 26. Photo by G. Rowsey, courtesy UTIA.

At the University of Tennessee Milan No-Till Field Day, farmers learn management practices that will help them combat damaging weeds, insects and diseases. They’ll also take on another problem in many Tennessee families and communities…hunger.

A tour stop titled “Farmers vs. Hunger” will be part of the field day program on Thursday, July 26, 2018.  It’s an opportunity for volunteers to form an assembly line and package thousands of meals to be distributed to local food banks.

“Around 15 percent of the state’s population is food insecure; this includes more than 20 percent of the children of Tennessee, and when you look at rural West Tennessee, those numbers get even higher,” says Blake Brown, director of the UT AgResearch and Education Center at Milan.  “We may not think about it often, but hunger is a real issue in our communities.”

The food to be packaged is a macaroni and cheese meal that is fortified with soy protein and vitamins.  Thanks to the soybean’s unique protein content, this meal will be nutritious and substantial for children and adults.  Soybeans are grown on more than 1 million acres in Tennessee, and its the largest row crop in the state.

At the last Milan No-Till Field Day in 2016, volunteers packaged nearly 28,000 meals. This year organizers hope to top that.

“This is a fun event with a great feeling of accomplishment. You are doing something to help the greater good as well as promote soybeans,” says Chuck Danehower, UT Extension area specialist and tour coordinator. Danehower is encouraging civic organizations and youth groups to stop by the field day to lend a hand.

“Farmers vs. Hunger” will begin at 9 a.m. inside the West Tennessee Agricultural Museum and continue until 2 p.m.  Field day visitors are welcome to come and go between other tour presentations.

Field day registration begins at 6 a.m.  There are 15 other tours on the program, which can be found online at 
milan.tennessee.edu/MNTFD.  You can also call the research center's office at 731-686-7362 for more information.

The Tennessee Soybean Promotion Council, Taco Bell of Milan, Farm Credit Mid-America, Outreach Inc., and Hunters Sharing the Harvest are sponsoring “Farmers vs. Hunger.”

The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture celebrates 50 years of excellence in providing Real. Life. Solutions. through teaching, discovery and service. 



Blake Brown, director, AgResearch & Education Center at Milan, 731-686-7362, 

Ginger Rowsey UTIA Marketing & Communications Services, 731-425-4768,