Tennessee Farm Bureau makes strong contribution to UT Lone Oaks Farm STEM facility to be named in their honor

Published 8:30 am Monday, January 20, 2020

COLUMBIA — The Tennessee Farm Bureau family, made up of Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation, Farm Bureau Insurance of Tennessee and Tennessee Farm Bureau Health Plans, has pledged a two-year commitment of $125,000 to UT Extension, a unit of the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture. The donation will be used for a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) barn at the Youth Education Center at Lone Oaks Farm in Middleton, Tennessee.

“We are thrilled to contribute to the positive effort University of Tennessee Extension has at Lone Oaks Farm in preparing the future generation of farmers and agricultural advocates, and we look forward to how this investment will not only increase Extension’s outreach, but also provide a strong teaching tool for 4-Hers and others to learn valuable agricultural knowledge,” said Tennessee Farm Bureau President Jeff Aiken.

UTIA will honor Tennessee Farm Bureau’s generosity by naming the facility the Tennessee Farm Bureau STEM Barn. The facility will provide indoor and outdoor areas for teaching and serve as a special place to teach students STEM principles with hands-on, fun learning experiences centered on agriculture and natural resources.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“Our vision for Lone Oaks Farm has always been to create a premier youth education facility to develop a deep appreciation for the land, conservation and agriculture,” said UT Senior Vice President and Vice Chancellor of UTIA Tim Cross. “We are extremely grateful to the Tennessee Farm Bureau for investing in youth, agriculture and education at this impressive location.”

Lone Oaks Farm encompasses 1,200 acres of pastures, woodlands and lakes and has been hosting youth experiences for more than four years. The past two years have focused heavily on STEM field trips and youth leadership development with more than 1,000 students visiting the farm for science-based learning during the fall of 2019.

The Tennessee Farm Bureau STEM Barn will be a central hub for all youth groups visiting the farm for day and overnight experiences. The center will consist of an instructional facility, demonstration farm and overnight lodging for 64 students. During their visit, students will learn about cutting-edge technology like GIS, drones and genetic technology, while at the same time providing outdoor experiences like stargazing and nature walks. While these experiences will connect students to agriculture and natural resources, the larger goal is to ignite excitement and enthusiasm about STEM, regardless of which field of study a student pursues.

4-H is the largest youth development program in the nation. In Tennessee, more than 168,600 youth participate in 4-H through school and community clubs, service projects, volunteer activities, year-round educational programs and summer camps, all administered through UT Extension.

Robert Burns, dean of UT Extension, praises the Tennessee Farm Bureau family for its foresight. “Any investment in educating the youth of Tennessee helps to brighten each individual participant’s future and the future of the state as a whole,” he said.

Although located in West Tennessee, Lone Oaks Farm is available to anyone looking for a unique center for learning.

UT Extension operates three other 4-H centers across the state in Columbia, Crossville and Greeneville, and approximately 13,000 youth attend programs at these facilities throughout the year.