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TDOC Partners With TSU For Agricultural Program

Thursday, July 16, 2020 | 02:18pm
Photo of TSU Program With Offender Cultivating Mixed-Grass Hay

NASHVILLE - Thanks to an agreement reached with Tennessee State University, the Department of Correction is expanding its large network of agricultural programs.  On Monday, July 6, Commissioner Tony Parker signed an agreement that will allow land near the old Charles Bass Correctional Complex to be used in TSU’s Agricultural Science Program.

The university’s livestock operation will begin cultivating mixed-grass hay for livestock feeding.  It’s estimated this will save the university upwards of $50,000 dollars in purchasing hay.  According to Chris Haley, TDOC Director of Facilities Management & Maintenance, “The TDOC /TSU agricultural vocational cooperative is only beginning and at this early date we have produced 283 6x6 rolls of hay to support animal science programs at TSU.  Not only does our venture offset program costs for TSU, TDOC saves greatly in property maintenance, with reductions in equipment, labor and fuel costs.

Photo of Mixed-Grass Hay Being Rolled

TDOC currently uses the land for vegetable and produce truck patches and managing large swaths of grasslands that were being regularly mowed but otherwise unused.  TDOC has incorporated this endeavor into the current agricultural/maintenance programs for inmates. ,This effort also provides valuable programming and education opportunities for TSU students.

 “The TSU-TDOC hay production partnership supports the small-scale cattle research programs at TSU, benefiting the animal science students and livestock producers.” TSU Professor, Dr. Richard Browning said.

 “We are pleased to extend educational opportunities to the TDOC population through this joint agricultural endeavor.”

The new partnership is supported by the TDOC middle region farm team comprised of inmates and staff. They’ve enjoyed learning about new processes and agricultural techniques, all while offsetting costs to the State of Tennessee.

Photo of Equipment and Rolled Mixed-Grass Hay