Online Marketing Strategies and Livestock Biosecurity Protocols Recognized 

Megan Leffew, UT Center for Profitable Agriculture

​Megan Leffew, UT Center for Profitable Agriculture

Andrew Griffith, UT Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics 

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The Southern Risk Management Education Center has announced its top three Projects of Excellence for 2018, and two of the three programs are led by University of Tennessee Extension specialists.

The mission of the SRMEC is to help agricultural producers manage risk and grow the markets for their products. The awards were based on project innovation and positive outcomes for producers.

Advanced Online Marketing Strategies for Tennessee Farmers, a project directed by Megan Leffew of the UT Center for Profitable Agriculture, helped 567 people to efficiently and effectively reach potential customers by understanding e-commerce options, advanced social media/digital marketing and video content creation and marketing. The program targeted Tennessee farmers involved in value-added, direct marketing and agritourism enterprises. It included the development and delivery of three curricula via 20 educational programs to help participants efficiently and effectively reach potential customers and make sales transactions. 

According to Leffew, 52 participants completed a follow-up evaluation six months after attending a workshop, and each of them indicated they had implemented at least one practice or procedure learned. 

The second UTIA award-winning project was directed by Andrew Griffith, an associate professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics. The project, Implementing Biosecurity and Disease Prevention Measures and Evaluating Marketing Strategies and Contract Opportunities in Small Ruminant Production, involved hosting two conferences to educate producers on several topics focused on animal health and disease prevention, biosecurity planning and implementation for disease outbreak, as well as a variety of marketing avenues, market diversification and contract fulfillment. The target audience included small ruminant producers, small acreage farmers, "local food farmers," operators looking to diversify enterprise mix or to transition to alternative production, and land owners with idle land in Alabama and Tennessee. 

A total of 222 participated in the conference, which attracted producers from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee and Virginia. Griffith says that post conference survey responses estimate the information presented had a positive impact on participants amounting to nearly $328,000.
The third award-winning project, Gate to Plate: Targeted Business and Production Management Training for Women, Beginning, and Transitioning Ranchers Selling Meat into the Marketplace, was led by Sarah Blacklin of North Carolina State University. 

SRMEC Director Ron Rainey, who is also a professor of agricultural economics for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, said, “These Projects of Excellence provided outstanding educational and promotional materials, innovative use of technology to deliver programming, exceptional evaluation results and collaborations across disciplines and regions.” 

Rainey also said that each summer the advisory council convenes to evaluate the most recent round of completed projects funded by SRMEC, which is based at the Division of Agriculture. The council ranks projects by the importance of outcomes, audiences reached, realized and potential impacts, as well as the quality and value of project communications. 

To learn more about the Southern Risk Management Education Center and its programs, visit the Center’s website:​.

The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture celebrates 50 years of excellence in providing Real. Life. Solutions. through teaching, discovery and service.



Mary Hightower, University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service, 501-671-2126,

Patricia McDaniels, UTIA Marketing and Communications, 615-835-4570,


SRMEC webpage​