School of Agriculture
Pioneer Century Farm
The Oakley Farm was a gift by Millard V. Oakley and wife, J.J. Oakley to Tennessee Tech University. The couple’s support and generosity span decades for the betterment of the Upper Cumberland region especially for agriculture, families and children. Their commitment to sustainable agriculture and education led them to donate the Oakley Farm including a large portion of their farm along with the livestock and equipment on the property valued at more than $9 million.
Mr. Millard Oakley stated: “Seems to me that we should put more into society than we take out. My wife and I want to do that, education brings everything to a rural region. Tech is the economic engine of the Upper Cumberland. I think this will broaden the horizon for them and improve the School of Agriculture. By giving the property to Tech, it will remain its agricultural and educational status.”
The property is recognized by the Tennessee Historical Society as a Pioneer Century Farm. The property has been farmed for more than 200 years by the family of Millard Oakley; since the original grant to one of Mr. Oakley’s ancestors in 1792 for his service in the Revolutionary War. The farm, at one time, had the second largest herd of cattle in the State of Tennessee.
The university started leasing the farm in 2009. Students now work with the cattle and in the hydroponic greenhouses to study plant growth and genetics. It is one of the largest laboratories of its kind for conducting research on livestock, water quality, soils, and crop production.