Agricenter Educator Wins Award 10-17-18

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 17, 2018

Agricenter Educator Wins Award

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MEMPHIS, TN --- Tim Roberts, Agricenter Director of Education and University of Tennessee Extension Agent, received the Urban and Community Forestry Award of Excellence from the Tennessee Urban Forestry Council (TUFC).  According to TUFC, Roberts won this for his “outstanding contributions to the urban forestry effort at the local, regional or state level.”

Roberts said, “I am honored to be given this award of excellence for the forestry education I have done at Agricenter.  It is a blessing to be able to teach so many students about our natural resources.” 

Roberts and others throughout the state were recognized at Cheekwood Gardens in Nashville on Sunday, October 14, 2018.  The Award was presented Roberts for his work in Forestry Education.  The Educational Program at Agricenter educates approximately 10,000 students annually in agriculture, forestry, and other natural resources.  In 2017, he has worked with 28 schools and over 1,600 students specifically in the subject of forestry. 

John Butler, President of Agricenter International said, “Tim Roberts does an outstanding job and leads a very dedicated team.” 

Roberts received his B.S. degree from Tennessee Technology University in Cookeville and his M.S. from the University of Missouri - Columbia.  Roberts has been in agriculture extension since 1994 in Tennessee and in Missouri.  He began at Agricenter in 2003 and has also served for six years on the Progressive Agriculture Foundation Board of Directors. 

 

Agricenter International, a 1,000 acre farm, is a non-profit dedicated to advancing the knowledge and understanding of agriculture.  It has a $524 million annual economic impact on the region, hosts over 1.3 million visitors annually, and educates 10,000 students a year. For more information visit www.agricenter.org or call 901-757-7777.

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Media Release - Agricenter Harvest Festival 10-13-18

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 12, 2018

Agricenter Harvest Festival in its 15th year

MEMPHIS, TN --- Fall is here at Agricenter and we are celebrating with our 15th annual Harvest Festival. Bring your family to this FREE child-oriented event.  Since 2003, Agricenter Harvest Festival has attracted thousands each year.

October 13

10am – 2pm

Location: Farmer’s Market Barn

Your child can paint a pumpkin, eat popcorn and cotton candy, play games, get their face painted, listen to a live bluegrass band (Grassfire), take a hayride, watch a cotton gin demonstration and participate in the mystery box educational activity all for free! 


Thank you to our generous sponsors of this event:

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GOLD SPONSOR

Helena Agri-Enterprises

 

SILVER SPONSOR

Smoothie King

 

EVENT SPONSOR

TN Department of Agriculture

 

Park in the ShowPlace Arena lot and enter from the east side.  Register for the giant pumpkin at the Registration table and get your free cotton candy tickets there.  Other concessions available for a fee.  Pictures from last year are here:  www.agricenter.org/harvestfestival.

 

Agricenter International, a 1,000 acre farm, is a non-profit dedicated to advancing the knowledge and understanding of agriculture.  It has a $524 million annual economic impact on the region, hosts over 1.3 million visitors annually, and educates 10,000 students a year. For more information visit www.agricenter.org or call 901-757-7777.

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Media release - 218 Acres Are Now Certified Organic 10-1-18

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 1, 2018

218 Acres Are Now Certified Organic

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MEMPHIS, TN – Agricenter announces today that it has received organic certification for 218 acres under its care.  This certification process is offered through the USDA and takes three years to complete.  During those three years, the acres were considered “transitioning organic” and Agricenter submitted an application, adopted organic practices, and was site inspected.  Until the three-year process was complete, the vegetation growing on it could not be represented or sold as “organic” but only as “transitional organic.” 

Ten of the 218 Acres of certified organic land is devoted to research and is part of the Organic Resource Center (ORC).  The ORC was founded in 2015 and is a new model serving as a laboratory and demonstration farm, a place for additional collaboration between producers and consumers, and a hub to learn about new markets and emerging trends.  Agricenter is a resource for those interested in all aspects of organic agriculture in the region and can give farmers guidance on what to expect in the certifying process.  The ORC will establish a long-term trial to compare organic and non-organic cropping systems in a southern, sub-tropical climate. 

John Butler, President of Agricenter adds, “The ORC will allow Agricenter’s research team to better understand the opportunities around organic production and the challenges facing the industry.” 


Agricenter International, a 1,000 acre farm, is a non-profit dedicated to advancing the knowledge and understanding of agriculture.  It has a $524 million annual economic impact on the region, hosts over 1.3 million visitors annually, and educates 10,000 students a year. For more information visit www.agricenter.org or call 901-757-7777.

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Agricenter’s FFA Field Day Connect Youth with Careers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 18, 2018

MEMPHIS, TN -- Over 250 Future Farmers of America (FFA) will descend on the Agricenter campus September 19, 2018 from 9:30 am to 1:00 pm.  Agricenter's FFA programs are designed to introduce youth to the many agricultural job opportunities that are available and to interact with colleges. 

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Tim Roberts, Agricenter’s Director of Education, stated, “There are more job openings in agriculture than there are people to fill them.  By 2020, there will be over 57,000 jobs available in agriculture and only 35,000 qualified graduates to fill those jobs.  This event connects students with opportunities that await them if they pursue an agricultural path.”

The focus of this field day is on plant science and research. Helena Agri-Enterprises will discuss product discovery, registration, and marketing and BASF will explain why data collection is important and the importance of field research.  They will learn about wildlife management from Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) and greenhouse management and maintenance from BASF.  Crop Production Services will talk about Ag sales and Waypoint Analytical about soil testing and diagnostics.  Agriculture careers in government will be discussed by TN Department of Agriculture.

Thank you to our generous sponsors!

Gold Sponsor

Helena Agri-Enterprises

Silver Sponsor

Simmons Land Company

Event Sponsor

TN Department of Agriculture

The field day showcases careers in agriculture.  The goal is to show the possibilities students have for occupations in the field of agriculture.  Students will rotate from station to station to network with professionals and companies involved in agriculture.  They will also visit with several colleges and universities with agricultural degrees to help further their education in agriculture. 

 

Agricenter International, a 1,000 acre farm, is a non-profit dedicated to advancing the knowledge and understanding of agriculture.  It has a $524 million annual economic impact on the region, hosts over 1.3 million visitors annually, and educates 10,000 students a year. For more information visit www.agricenter.org or call 901-757-7777.

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Media release - Agricenter Demonstration Gardens 9-12-18

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 12, 2018

Agricenter Demonstration Gardens

MEMPHIS, TN – Agricenter staff has planted three demonstration gardens to show several straightforward ways the public can establish a home garden.  This plot is open every day and is located next to the wildlife viewing tower on Germantown Parkway which is accessible from the parking lot at Walnut Bend.  We ask that you do not pick the vegetables as they are for everyone to enjoy.

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John Butler, President of Agricenter says “This year we wanted to add to what we offer the public by growing some small-scale demonstration gardens.  I hope this will inspire some creative ideas with home gardens.”

Agricenter has planted broccoli, squash, kale, cabbage, lettuce, and pole beans in these beds.  The three types of raised beds are straw bales, tiered pallet garden, and a linear pallet garden.

This is one simple way to establish an urban garden and produce your own vegetables.


Agricenter International, a 1,000 acre farm, is a non-profit dedicated to advancing the knowledge and understanding of agriculture.  It has a $524 million annual economic impact on the region, hosts over 1.3 million visitors annually, and educates 10,000 students a year. For more information visit www.agricenter.org or call 901-757-7777.

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Sunflowers in bloom!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 21, 2018

MEMPHIS, TN --- Our second planting of sunflowers are blooming today at Agricenter International. Over 78,000 sunflower seeds were planted in two phases for the community to enjoy!  The blooming sunflowers will last a couple weeks, depending on the weather. Photography is allowed, but please do not pick sunflowers.  Because of the rain and mud, please park at the lot at Walnut Bend Road and Germantown Parkway instead of the grassy field we used last month. 

Tag Agricenter International in your photos for inclusion in our album, email to info@agricenter.org, or use the hashtag #AgricenterSunflowers. To view last month’s photos click here: www.agricenter.org/sunflowers

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Photo courtesy: Molly Meghan Egge

Agricenter International, a 1,000 acre farm, is a non-profit dedicated to advancing the knowledge and understanding of agriculture.  It has a $524 million annual economic impact on the region, hosts over 1.3 million visitors annually, and educates 10,000 students a year. For more information visit www.agricenter.org or call 901-757-7777.

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Future weed scientists test skills

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Agricenter International in Memphis, Tenn., recently hosted the Southern Weed Science Society’s 2018 Southern Weed Contest. The event is held to provide an educational experience where undergraduate and graduate students attending Southern universities can broaden their applied weed science skills. “These students can apply what they have learned in the classroom to real-life situations,” explains Dr. Bruce Kirksey, director of research, Agricenter. “I would personally like to thank all of the volunteers from universities, agri-business industry and our Agricenter staff who collectively dedicated their time and talents to make this event a success.”

During the event, participating students rotated to different stations where various weed science-related scenarios were set up. From herbicide symptomology and calibration, to weed identification and crop/weed situation recommendations, all students were challenged, tested, and scored.

To provide the students with a little diversion from their chosen discipline, a “mystery event” was again included in this year’s contest. A flat-bed gooseneck trailer was set up with various flaws that included things like cargo load not being properly loaded or secured for transport. “The students had to look at everything on the trailer and identify the faults that would make it illegal to travel on the road,” explains Isaac Carpenter, associate Agronomist II, Winfield United Answer Plot Program, and a volunteer for the event. “This particular stop was added to the contest in 1999 to give students a mental break during the day. It wasn’t a weed science-centric stop but was very applicable to agriculture in general.”

Darrin Dodds, Extension and research professor, Mississippi State University, is the 2018 chairman of the Southern Weed Science Society Contest Committee from Mississippi. “Any undergraduate or graduate student currently enrolled and pursuing a B.S., M.S, or Ph.D. degree was eligible to participate in this event,” explains Dodds. “Mississippi State University submitted two teams and four alternates for the contest this year.”

Weed science major Kayla Browster, Mount Carmel, Ill., hails from a fourth-generation farming family. “My dad and brother operate a grain crop farm back home,” says Browster. “I’m hoping to become involved with weed science research after I finish my education.”

The team with the highest average team score from all the day’s events was awarded the coveted “Broken Hoe” trophy that is rotated to each year’s winner. This year’s first place team was from the University of Arkansas, second place went to the team from Virginia Tech, and the team from Louisiana State University took third place.

Media release - Southern Weed Contest

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 31, 2018

Southern Weed Contest Comes to Agricenter

MEMPHIS, TN --- Agricenter International will host 60 students for the Southern Weed Contest on Wednesday, August 8, 2018.  Graduate and undergraduate students from universities across the southeast will convene to compete in this contest associated with the Southern Weed Science Society (SWSS).  SWSS has been bringing together professionals since 1948 to elevate weed research and control on agricultural crops.  As future extension agents, researchers, and agronomists, these students can broaden their applied skills in weed science with real-world experience during the weed contest.  Participating schools include Universities of Kentucky, Arkansas, Georgia, and Florida, Texas A&M, Louisiana State, Mississippi State, North Carolina State, Auburn University, Virginia Tech, and Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.

 Dr. Bruce Kirksey

Dr. Bruce Kirksey

“This event will undoubtedly be one of the highlights in these future weed scientists’ and agronomists’ careers,” says Dr. Bruce Kirksey, Director of Research at Agricenter International.  “Our mission at Agricenter is to advance knowledge and understanding of agriculture.  The Weed Contest will put these students in real world, real life situations.  I can’t think of a better way to use the knowledge that these students have acquired than to participate in this contest.”

The one-day contest includes both written and in-the-field tests on identification of 100 weeds in any number of growth stages (plus correct spelling of the scientific and common names).  They will also be tested on calibration and crop response to herbicides. Through observation of crop and weed responses, they must name the herbicide used in a plot.  Students must also identify what has happened to a crop and make a sound recommendation to the farmer.  The students will be competing as a team as well as individually for cash prizes. 

The event is closed to the public.

Agricenter International, a 1,000 acre farm, is a non-profit dedicated to advancing the knowledge and understanding of agriculture.  It has a $524 million annual economic impact on the region, hosts over 1.3 million visitors annually, and educates 10,000 students a year. For more information visit www.agricenter.org or call 901-757-7777.

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Media release - Farm Innovation Field Day

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 31, 2018

Farm Innovation Field Day at Agricenter

MEMPHIS, TN – Agricenter is hosting Farm Innovation Field Day in partnership with AgLaunch on August 9 from 8am-12pm.  RSVP required!  Demonstrations of cutting edge early stage AgTech startups will be featured.  Specialty crops and the organic resource center at Agricenter will be discussed as well as AgSTEM education discussion. 

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Target audience for the field day is:

  • Local food & food system partners
  • Food companies interested in farm-level innovation
  • Startup companies interested in partnering with AgLaunch and the AgLaunch Farmer Network
  • Innovative farmers that are interested in participating in the AgLaunch Farmer Network
  • Investors and agribusiness working in the sector

RSVP required:  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/agricenter-field-day-tickets-47564648143

Media is welcome to attend August 9, 2018 at 8am at the Agricenter ShowPlace Arena Warm Up Barn Hospitality Room.  Follow the signs to the event.

Agricenter International, a 1,000 acre farm, is a non-profit dedicated to advancing the knowledge and understanding of agriculture.  It has a $524 million annual economic impact on the region, hosts over 1.3 million visitors annually, and educates 10,000 students a year. For more information visit www.agricenter.org or call 901-757-7777.

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Media Release - Sunflowers are blooming 7-25-18

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 25, 2018

 

Sunflowers in bloom!

MEMPHIS, TN --- Sunflowers are blooming today at Agricenter International. Over 78,000 sunflower seeds were planted in two phases for the community to enjoy!  The blooming sunflowers will last a couple weeks, depending on the weather, and one month from now there will be a new crop of sunflowers blooming next to it. Photography is allowed, but please do not pick sunflowers.  Agricenter has designated parking areas for you to enjoy the sunflowers – please enter on Timber Creek Drive, and follow the signs for sunflower parking. 

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Tag Agricenter International in your photos for inclusion in our album, email to info@agricenter.org, or use the hashtag #AgricenterSunflowers. To view last year’s photos click here: www.agricenter.org/sunflowers

Agricenter International, a 1,000 acre farm, is a non-profit dedicated to advancing the knowledge and understanding of agriculture.  It has a $524 million annual economic impact on the region, hosts over 1.3 million visitors annually, and educates 10,000 students a year. For more information visit www.agricenter.org or call 901-757-7777.

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Media release - Agricenter Educator Wins Award 7-19-18

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 19, 2018

Agricenter Educator Wins Award

MEMPHIS, TN --- Today, Tim Roberts, Agricenter International Director of Education and University of Tennessee Extension Agent, was the 2018 recipient of “Youth in Agriculture” award for his work in urban agriculture.  Tennessee State University and Farm Credit presented this award at their annual Small Urban Agriculture Conference in Nashville on July 19, 2018. 

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Roberts won this award for establishing the Youth Education in Agriculture, Forestry, and other Natural Resources program at Agricenter International.  The program has been built around the National Science Curriculum to assist schools and teachers in providing education in an outdoor setting.  In most cases, the students are not only learning concepts, but they can see, touch, and smell what they are learning to enhance their education.  Roberts said, “I am honored to be recognized for the many years of agricultural education work I have done at Agricenter.  It is a blessing to be able to teach thousands of students a year about where their food and fiber come from.” 

Agricenter’s program utilizes different activities to educate students from kindergarten to college with science-based learning about agriculture, forestry, and natural resources.  Kindergarteners learn about fruits and vegetables at the Farmer’s Market. One student wrote, “I never knew that we eat roots.”  In the plant exploration class, one student wrote, “I never thought about where everything in the store comes from.”  Besides the eight daily classes teachers can choose from, Tim Roberts heads up the annual education events such as Energy Day, Ag Tech Career Forum, Farm Education Day, Safety Day, Ag Day Student Art Contest (formerly the Ag Day Poster Contest), and more.

Roberts received his B.S. degree from Tennessee Technology University in Cookeville and his M.S. from the University of Missouri - Columbia.  Roberts has been in agriculture extension since 1994 in Tennessee and in Missouri.  He began at the Agricenter in 2003 and has also served for six years on the Progressive Agriculture Board of Directors. 

 

Agricenter International, a 1,000 acre farm, is a non-profit dedicated to advancing the knowledge and understanding of agriculture.  It has a $524 million annual economic impact on the region, hosts over 1.3 million visitors annually, and educates 10,000 students a year. For more information visit www.agricenter.org or call 901-757-7777.

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Media Release - Students Guaranteed a Job when they Graduate from High School

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 18, 2018

Students Guaranteed a Job when they Graduate from High School

MEMPHIS, TN – In a surprise announcement during a recent class of Memphis-Shelby County Ag Tech Summer Youth Program, students learned that three of them are guaranteed a job upon graduation from high school.  Bob Wilson, CEO and Managing Partner of H.Saga International/Port Alliance Logistics, and major funder of the Ag Tech Summer Youth Program, gave his personal life story and ended with an enormous opportunity for three lucky students.  Wilson said, “A lot of people believe in you or you wouldn’t be here today in this program.  The first three students to call me after graduation, I will guarantee you a job in my company.” With this promise, he is not just investing in the Ag Tech Program, but in the students’ future. 

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Wilson told the students that the three most important things that will help them succeed are building relationships, choosing to do the work no one else wants to do and doing it well, and believing in themselves no matter what their history may be. He stated, “You might be sitting next to the most important person in your future, so put aside your differences.”   Wilson had people in his life that believed in him when he needed it most and is passionate about supporting youth development in order to create a better community.

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John Butler, President of Agricenter, stated, “I was blown away by the big heart that Bob has. He firmly believes in this program and he’s willing to go the extra mile to invest in these students. What an incredible opportunity for these young people to have a job the day after they graduate from high school.” 

In its second year, the Memphis-Shelby County AgTech Summer Youth Program is a 6-week youth employment and workforce develop program hosted by Agricenter International. Students are paid a stipend to attend, giving them a 30-hour work week. Students focus on four key components: career readiness, agriculture, life skills (financial awareness), and STEM activities including drone building and operation. Students were selected from varying regions across the Shelby County area. 

This opportunity is provided by these sponsors: Agricenter International, UT-TSU Extension, H. Saga International/Port Alliance Logistics, Northeast Kiwanis Club, Express Drone Robotics, and Greater Memphis Alliance for a Competitive Workforce. 

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Media Release - Over $110,000 Raised for Education 7-12-2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 12, 2018

Over $110,000 Raised for Education at Agricenter’s Feast on the Farm

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MEMPHIS, TN --- Surrounded by a sea of sunflowers and cowboy boots, more than 400 guests helped raise over $110,000 in net proceeds for Agricenter International’s education program at the June 23rd Feast on the Farm Gala. Guests dined on a myriad of tastings from the area’s finest chefs while bidding on unique silent auction items.  The spirited live auction led by Jeff Morris of Morris Realty & Auction captivated bidders with hunting trips, diamonds, and sporting adventures.  Entertainment by the Wolf River Rednecks rounded out the fun-filled evening. 

All proceeds from the event support Agricenter International’s education program which educates 10,000 students each year.  Christine Donhardt, Event Chair, said, “This gala provides critical funding for our extensive education programs and we could not provide this without the help of generous supporters!”

Did you miss the fun but still want in on the action?  New online auction items are available now with bidding starting at $5!  Support the cause today by clicking this link: http://Feast2018.givesmart.com.

The event was made possible by generous event sponsors including:

Platinum sponsor:  Helena Agri-Enterprises.

Silver sponsors: Boyle Investment Company, Asgrow-DEKALB-Deltapine, and Crop Production Services

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Bronze sponsors: TN Department of Agriculture, Cargill, and C.R. Narayanan & Co

Copper sponsors: Staplcotn, F&F Construction, FedEx Employees Credit Assoc., and Lowe’s #1526

Raffle sponsor: Trustmark Bank

Featured sponsors: Hicks Convention Services and Special Events, Nolan Production Group, Doron Diamonds Direct, and Archer Malmo

Photos from the evening can be viewed on our Facebook page here:  https://tinyurl.com/yblpwmr9

For more information visit www.agricenter.org or call 901-757-7777.

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Media release - Hands-on learning at Agricenter 7-11-18

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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July 11, 2018

Students Have a Farm-to-Table Experience

MEMPHIS, TN --- Over 500 students, in small groups, experienced hands-on learning at Agricenter throughout the months of June and July.  The students from the Superintendent’s Learning Academy, a program of the Shelby County School system, learned about the science of wheat and bread as well as observation skills in nature. 

Eighth grade students harvested wheat from Agricenter’s farm, learned about chaffing, grinding, making wheat flour, and the botany of wheat.  They made the dough rise and learned about the chemical process of yeast.  They also enjoyed learning about the history of wheat, commercial milling, food safety, and commercial production of bread. 

Tim Roberts, Director of Education, adds, “This is the first year Agricenter has offered this program and is one of the many ways we reach 10,000 students a year.” 

Sixth and seventh grade students learned math and engineering in a program called Observation Skills in Nature.  They learned nature’s secret code, made fly catchers, observed symmetry in nature, and learned about Fibonacci numbers.

Melisa Knirr, Educator of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources, said, “We are delighted to teach these students about the wonders of nature through agriculture here on our farm.”

 

Please mark your calendars for:

FFA Field Day - September 19, 2018.  Teachers must RSVP through this webpage (this is not just for FFA students but anyone interested in agricultural careers): http://www.agricenter.org/ffafieldday

 

Agricenter International, a 1,000 acre farm, is a non-profit dedicated to advancing the knowledge and understanding of agriculture.  It has a $524 million annual economic impact on the region, hosts over 1.3 million visitors annually, and educates 10,000 students a year. For more information visit www.agricenter.org or call 901-757-7777.

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Media release - Rep Ron Lollar

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 6, 2018

Statement on the Passing of Rep. Ron Lollar

MEMPHIS, TN --- We are saddened to hear of the passing of Representative Ron Lollar, who was a great supporter of Agricenter.  Representative Lollar was an integral part of the formation of Agricenter as he came to work here in 1985 as project manager for construction of the Expo Center and stayed on until 1995 as VP of Administration.  Lollar has always been a great supporter of the local farmers and the agricultural industry.  Most recently he has supported our endeavors to renovate the ShowPlace Arena and in June was a guest at our annual gala.  Our heartfelt sympathy is with his family and friends.

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