KNOXVILLE — University of Tennessee trustees approved Thursday the purchase of a 500-acre Blount County farm to relocate and expand dairy research and teaching programs.
The new property, located off Highway 321 between Maryville and Townsend, will cost about $4 million. Funding will be provided by the payment received from University Health Systems as part of the spin-off of UT Medical Center in July 1999.
Dr. Thomas H. Klindt, associate dean of UT’s Agriculture Experiment Station, said moving UT dairy operations from the current 220-acre site at Cherokee Farms on Alcoa Highway will improve teaching and research, clear space for new facilities, and provide other benefits.
“The Cherokee site does not provide necessary acreage and modern facilities required for today’s dairy programs,” Klindt said. “Relocation will help us achieve these improvements. We believe the new tract of land will serve the university well as a dairy research and teaching facility.”
UT dairy operations at the Cherokee location began about 1915. Research conducted there includes forage improvement, dairy production, dairy cattle breeding and genetics, dairy reproduction studies, mastitis and udder health, and water quality and dairy waste. The facilities also are used for teaching in veterinary medicine, animal science, and other UT programs.
The university’s long-term plans include using the Cherokee space for future research facilities, intramural activities, and athletic fields.
The proposal to purchase the Blount County tract now goes before the State Building Commission for final approval.