Union County Native Ready to Assist Farmers Statewide

Chuck Grigsby has joined the staff of the University of Tennessee Center for Profitable Agriculture as a marketing specialist. Photo by K. Giorgio, courtesy UTIA. Download image.

SPRING HILL, Tenn. — Chuck Grigsby thinks he’s found the perfect position to blend his knowledge of economics and his experiences with consumer supported agriculture and community development. A native of Union County, Tenn., Grigsby has joined the University of Tennessee Center for Profitable Agriculture (CPA) as the center’s newest marketing specialist.
The CPA’s staff of five professionals, including Grigsby, provide educational programs and technical assistance to Tennessee farmers interested in expanding their business models with value-added enterprises to improve farm income. Examples would include agritourism operations like corn mazes or pumpkin patches as well as direct sales or on-farm sales of produce or other products. CPA specialists work with farmers and agri-entrepreneurs to evaluate the costs of starting new enterprises, to navigate regulatory issues and to identify potential markets. 
“We are excited to have Chuck join our team,” said CPA Director Rob Holland.  “He will work directly with county Extension agents and farmers across the state in the evaluation and development of value-added enterprises. He will also be involved in implementing educational programs for farmers in agritourism and direct marketing.”

Before joining the CPA in mid June, Grigsby completed a master’s degree in agricultural economics from the University of Tennessee in May. While in graduate school, he served as a research assistant in the UT Institute of Agriculture where he investigated the energy use and cost of transporting locally-grown produce sold in East Tennessee farmers markets.
Grigsby graduated from Union County High School in Maynardville and received a B.S. degree in economics from Sewanee: The University of the South in 2009. After receiving his bachelor’s degree, Grigsby worked for a farm in Portland, Oregon, that specialized in local sales and food distribution, sometimes called community supported agriculture (CSA). From 2010-2013, he served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Costa Rica’s Community Economic Development Program where he facilitated entrepreneurial, financial, project planning and management workshops to local business owners, youth groups and small farmers.

Grigsby looks forward to the challenges that the state’s varied agricultural enterprises may present. “I have a keen interest in helping farmers develop their value-added and direct-marketing enterprises,” he said.
The Center for Profitable Agriculture is a cooperative effort between UT Extension and the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation to help farmers develop value-added enterprises. Its efforts support the goals of the Tennessee Governor Haslam’s Rural Challenge to enhance the profitability of the state’s agricultural industries and improve the quality of life in rural Tennessee.
The UT Institute of Agriculture provides instruction, research and outreach through the UT College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, the UT College of Veterinary Medicine, UT AgResearch, including its system of 10 research and education centers, and UT Extension offices in every county in the state.



Rob Holland, Center for Profitable Agriculture, 931-486-2777,