Proposal Spends $ 68 Million in Federal COVID Funds for Tennessee Agricultural Research Laboratories | State
(The Center Square) – The Tennessee Department of Agriculture on Tuesday presented a plan for $ 68 million in food sustainability spending at two higher education labs to the state’s Financial Stimulus Accountability Group.
The expenses would be part of $ 3.1 billion in federal stimulus spending of the American Rescue Plan Act.
In the funding proposal, $ 50 million would go to the University of Tennessee for 10 agricultural research and education centers across the state and $ 18.3 million would go to Tennessee State University for create a center for food and animal sciences.
Chandra Reddy of TSU, dean and director of research / administrator of the Extension College of Agriculture, said several applicants had turned down positions in recent years because TSU did not have the lab technology available. A new building would advance the state’s university and research, he said.
Research in the building would focus on “turning primary grains and meats into products,” according to Reddy, helping farmers and entrepreneurs create new secondary products with raw materials grown in Tennessee.
“Most importantly, we want to bring it to Tennessee businesses,” Reddy said. “This is the goal where this building will provide the visibility, the access, the technologies that we are looking for. “
Hongwei Xin of UT AgResearch said his group had to travel out of state for high-tech research, but new facilities would allow his team to “test products, evolve them” and create new products. innovation in Tennessee.
Both research developments would help increase food security in Tennessee, according to the plan, while UT’s facilities “would accelerate economic recovery, increase the resilience of agricultural and food supply systems, and improve public health.”
“This will help us stay on top of identified needs during the pandemic,” Tennessee Department of Agriculture commissioner Charles Hatcher said.