Texas Tech University

U.S. Farm Report College Roadshow Returns to Texas Tech

George Watson

September 24, 2020

Hudson, McCallister, Morgan

The program features some of the students and research being conducted at Texas Tech that directly impacts the world.

Not only has the coronavirus pandemic changed the way academic instruction is delivered on college campuses across the U.S., it's also changed how the research and innovation happening on campuses are recognized.

In the past, U.S. Farm Report, a weekly television program highlighting the agricultural industry, has traveled the country for its yearly College Roadshow series. The show features current agricultural research, economics and trends at the top agricultural schools in the country. This week, it was Texas Tech University's turn.

US Farm Report
Research assistant professor Donna McCallister (left) talks with U.S. Farm Report host Tyne Morgan from in front of the Will Rogers Statue during Tuesday's College Roadshow visit to Texas Tech University.

While COVID-19 prevented U.S. Farm Report from hosting in-person events on campus as it has during its previous two trips, the show still will be able to show the innovative research and educational activities happening in the College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources (CASNR) and update viewers on the progress being made in the Texas Tech University School of Veterinary Medicine.

"It's a treat to do the College Roadshow, and we weren't sure how it was going to look in 2020," said Tyne Morgan, host of the show. "We knew with the pandemic, we couldn't have in-person events, but I'm so thankful we found a way to be flexible. We're still able to celebrate some of these great ag schools across the country.

"It was exciting to be able to come to Texas Tech University, because there's so much research going on, so many programs and people who make this university so great. We really wanted to highlight it, even if things look a little differently."

US Farm Report
Larry Combest Chair and professor Darren Hudson from the Department of Agricultural & Applied Economics (left) talks with U.S. Farm Report host Tyne Morgan from in front of the Will Rogers Statue during Tuesday's College Roadshow visit to Texas Tech University.

Tuesday's schedule began at sunrise with interviews at the Will Rogers Statue. Morgan talked with professor and Larry Combest Chair Darren Hudson and Donna McCallister, a research assistant professor, from the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics. The trio discussed the economic impacts COVID-19 has had on agriculture, particularly the cotton industry, and what the immediate and long-term future looks like for the commodity.

Morgan then interviewed Lindsay Kennedy, assistant professor of practice in the Department of Agricultural Education & Communications who also serves as the leader of the CASNR Matador Institute of Leadership Engagement (MILE) program, as well as two students from the program. MILE is a three-semester leadership and professional development program that exposes students to the key issues affecting local, state and national agriculture while expanding their personal and professional skills.

"We know the MILE program, which is really a program to help instill leadership skills and help them network with industry folks all across the state and the country, is a program that is really best working in-person," Morgan said, "but because of COVID-19, they've had to adapt as well."

During Tuesday's visit, the roadshow also featured Noureddine Abidi, the Leidigh Professor in the Department of Plant and Soil Science and managing director of the Fiber & Biopolymer Research Institute. Abidi has been awarded a patent for a process to turn low-grade cotton into pure cellulose, which then can be converted into a gel that can be used in 3D printing, for example, or other processes to create usable, biodegradable products.

US Farm Report
U.S. Farm Report host Tyne Morgan (right) interviews Darren Hudson (left) and Donna McCallister from the Deaprtment of Agricultural & Applied Economics during Tuesday's College Roadshow at Texas Tech University.

Other segments for the show will include how Raider Red Meats, in the Department of Animal & Food Sciences, was able to deliver its products during the pandemic.

"We have seen how impressive the Meat Judging Team is," said Morgan, referring to the team's 14th national championship last fall. "Well, they also have that retail store and apparently, during the pandemic, demand surged. They had to find ways to still keep the students and employees in that facility safe. So, we're going highlight how they were able to change as well."

The full show complete with segments filmed on campus this week will air at 9 a.m. Saturday on RFD TV (Suddenlink cable channel 376).

"This is our third time for our College Roadshow, and we had a really good student audience last year and we had some students and faculty come," Morgan said. "I missed that side of it this year because it's really neat to network with some of these students and see them in person, and that builds excitement. But I will tell you, there is still life here on campus."