Department of Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science

Welcome to the department of Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science (BESS) at the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture (UTIA). Whether you are a potential student, research collaborator, alumnus, or just browsing for information, our people, programs, and projects have something to offer you.

Our faculty includes biosystems engineers, soil scientists, and a bio-climatologist, together with a gifted technical support staff. Our programs encompass the full range of the land-grant mission, which includes teaching, outreach and service. Our research projects can be, but are not limited to, sensors and soil testing, spray technology and water quality, precision agriculture and environmental modeling, soil physics and vegetable production systems, agricultural safety and chemical transport, food quality and machinery systems, waste treatment and environmental rehabilitation, electrical systems and subsurface hydrology. Please explore the site to learn more.

Study Abroad in Croatia

My experience in Croatia was something that I will never forget. I had the opportunity to make friends and network with students and professors alike, both from the University of Tennessee and Croatia. Our guides on this trip were more than knowledgeable and connected with the culture, so we had a unique connection with the country right off the bat. The places we visited were spectacular, the food was phenomenal, and the people were some of the kindest I’ve ever met. Croatia is truly a hidden gem of Europe, and we were very lucky to be able to go with such knowledgeable locals.

From the moment we arrived, to the moment we left, I felt taken care of and safe, in such a way that I have never felt traveling before. It was my first time going to this part of Europe, and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t scared; I had no idea what to expect. The faculty in charge of this trip and everyone we met along the way were all helpful in alleviating those fears I had coming into it. I felt that they would do anything to help make this trip the most fun and memorable experience of my college career, and they made it just that. There were so many things that they could have put less thought or effort into, but every professor that we interacted with had put their hearts and souls into this trip and made sure it was exciting and fun, yet never dangerous. I felt that I had the degree of freedom that any student deserves when traveling to new places, but I never felt for one moment unsafe or uncertain. I still can’t believe that we were able to drive though Hungary, Bosnia, and the entire country of Croatia in the time what we had, and still got to stop and relax, taking in the majesty of the Adriatic Sea, the countryside, and forests.

While we had freedoms and relaxing experiences, there was also a lot expected of us academically. I mean this in a fond way, I would not have enjoyed this trip as much if I hadn’t learned anything while I was here. After going on this trip, in my personal opinion, I don’t think there is any way to fully grasp the way our food is produced without traveling. I know saying this is a cliché at this point, but it is true: You can only learn so much from a classroom. The lessons I learned with the professors on this trip will be some that I build on for the rest of my professional career, as well as my personal life. I am eternally grateful for the thought, care, attention, and devotion that these professors had for this group of students; they truly are part of the reason The University of Tennessee is a leader in agriculture education. – signed a participant in 2024

2024 BESS Annual Awards Banquet was held on April 10, 2024
Assistant professor of biosystems engineering is working to improve food production through precision agriculture technology