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White House Honors UT Institute of Agriculture Professor

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Don Tyler 2015 kneeling in no-till cotton crop field Photo by Ginger Rowsey

JACKSON, Tenn. – On Monday, October 26, the White House recognized Don Tyler as a Champion of Change for Sustainable Agriculture. Tyler is one of 12 Americans being honored for leadership and innovation in agricultural production and education. Tyler is a professor and soil management researcher in the Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science Department at the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture.

According to a White House press release, the Champions of Change program was created as an opportunity to feature individuals who are doing extraordinary things to inspire and empower members of their communities. The Champions have helped implement agricultural practices that promote soil health and energy efficiency, improve water quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Tyler was honored for his research and outreach contributions in the areas of no-tillage cropping systems. These systems have dramatically reduced soil erosion, enhanced soil carbon storage from 1 percent to 4 percent, and increased soil biodiversity. Tyler is considered one of the leaders of the no-till farming movement in the Southeast. Today, no-till practices are being used on more than 70 percent of Tennessee’s corn, cotton and soybean acres.

“I am happy and humbled to receive this distinction,” says Tyler. “I think it represents a team effort on the part of a number of UTIA researchers, extension agents, specialists, and other government agencies that were successful in advancing the adoption of no-till agriculture.”

Tyler and his fellow Champions of Change were recognized on Monday, October 26. To learn more about the White House Champions of Change program, visit the website You can also follow the conversation at #WHChamps. Tyler also shared his experiences in sustainable agriculture with USDA agencies at a special roundtable.

Tyler has spent 37 years conducting agricultural research with UTIA. He is based at the West Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center in Jackson, but also performs studies at the AgResearch and Education Center at Milan.


Ginger Rowsey, UTIA Marketing and Communications
(731) 425-4768

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Category: Research