UT Business and Online Marketing project for farmers among the nation’s best


UT Extension project recognized twice for risk management education


Credit: Image courtesy UTIA.

COLUMBIA, Tenn. – A project led by the University of Tennessee Center for Profitable Agriculture’s Megan Bruch Leffew and Hal Pepper has received two awards for excellence in risk management education. The project was recently named one of three 2020 Southern Risk Management Education Center (SRMEC) Projects of Excellence and was also awarded the 2021 Extension Risk Management Education Center (ERME’s) Outstanding ERME Project for the Southern Region.

The Business Planning and Online Marketing Education for Tennessee Farmers project provided educational opportunities to help participants manage financial and marketing risk by developing business plans and implementing cost-effective online marketing strategies. The project targeted Tennessee farmers involved in value-added, direct marketing and agritourism enterprises. Funding for the project was provided through a USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture grant administered through the Southern Risk Management Education Center.

The SRMEC’s Advisory Council convenes each summer to evaluate the top three projects from the Center’s recent round of completed projects. The council ranks the projects by evaluating four factors: 1) the importance of outcomes, 2) audiences reached, 3) realized and potential impacts, and 4) quality and value of project communications.

The selected 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. The goal is to promote exemplary scholarship and the Extension Risk Management Education program. Center Director Ron Rainey noted, “Our projects of excellence demonstrate the types of aligned outreach activities that empower producers to manage risk on their farms. These outstanding projects have transparently developed, delivered, and evaluated farmer trainings with documented impacts and success stories.”

The ERME Outstanding Project award was established by the ERME centers to recognize an outstanding project from each of the four regions across the country each year.

Megan Bruch Leffew, project director, along with representatives of the other award-winning projects, were invited to make brief presentations at the Virtual 2021 Southern Agricultural Economics Association Annual Conference in February and the Virtual 2021 Extension Risk Management Education National Conference in late March. The project team and major collaborators included:

  • Megan Bruch Leffew, project director, UT Extension, Center for Profitable Agriculture
  • Hal Pepper, project co-director, UT Extension, Center for Profitable Agriculture
  • Adam Hopkins, team member, formerly area farm management specialist with UT Extension, Eastern Region, now with UT Extension Sevier County
  • Les Humpal, team member, UT Extension, Central Region, Area Farm Management Specialist
  • Danny Morris, team member, formerly area farm management specialist with UT Extension, Western Region, now with UT Martin Department of Agricultural Economics
  • David Yates, team member, UT Extension, Eastern Region, Area IT Specialist
  • Jade Clark, AgLaunch Initiative
  • Pete Nelson, AgLaunch Initiative
  • Joey Mehlhorn, UT Martin Department of Agricultural Economics
  • Ross Pruitt, UT Martin Department of Agricultural Economics
  • Rachna Tewari, UT Martin Department of Agricultural Economics


Through its land-grant mission of research, teaching and extension, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions.

Media Contact
Patricia McDaniels
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