DSCC & Halls High School Partner for First-Ever Vineyard & Viticulture Program in the State of TN
Dyersburg State Community College (DSCC), Halls High School and the Lauderdale County Chamber of Commerce celebrated the establishment of the first high school vineyard and viticulture program in the state of Tennessee with a ribbon cutting Sept. 28 at the Lauderdale County Agriculture Learning Center in Halls. The partnership between DSCC and Halls High School was made possible by the a Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA) Specialty Crop Block Grant in the amount of $24,532.89, awarded in 2018 to DSCC.
With the grant, DSCC has been able to provide Halls High School students the opportunity to develop viticulture demonstration plots growing food-quality grapes as an alternate food crop to serve as a source of education and an outreach center of operations. The venture will prepare them for careers in the viticulture industry – an area of large potential growth for the state of Tennessee.
“The critical lack of infrastructure and sustained support for the viticulture industry in Tennessee has hindered its large-scale growth,” stated Dr. Karen Bowyer, president of DSCC. “The Specialty Crop Block Grant has allowed us to provide Halls High School with the equipment, materials and instruction needed to educate their students in viticulture. Our hope is that it will encourage students to further their education in the grape and wine industry by participating in DSCC viticulture apprenticeship opportunities.”
The ribbon cutting, hosted by the Lauderdale County Chamber of Commerce, was preceded with special remarks by Amy Morgan, principal of Halls High School; Shawn Kimble, director of Lauderdale County Schools; Dr. Bowyer; Dr. Brian Wells, DSCC professor of biology; Commissioner Charles Hatcher, Tennessee Department of Agriculture; Shelby Cross, agricultural science teacher at Halls High School; Hayden Cherry, student and Future Farmers of America (FFA) president at Halls High School; and other FFA members.
Following special remarks, Halls High School FFA members provided a tour of the barn area and greenhouse. Members included Hanna Billings, Hayden Cherry, Maddie Hayes, Will Newman, and Brylee Pride.
DSC_0103.jpg – On hand for the ribbon cutting celebrating DSCC and Halls High School’s new viticulture plot Sept. 28 were (from left) Shelby Cross, agricultural science teacher at Halls High School; Shawn Kimble, superintendent at Lauderdale County Schools; Dr. Karen Bowyer, president of DSCC; Dr. Brian Wells, professor of biology at DSCC; Commissioner Charles Hatcher, Tennessee Department of Agriculture; Van Wylie, director of the Small Business Development Center at DSCC; Dr. Jan Reid-Bunch, vice president for the College at DSCC; Shawna Adams, assistant professor of biology at DSCC; and Dr. Amanda Walker, vice president for institutional advancement and continuing education at DSCC.