​​Publication Features Tennessee Producers

Grilled steak

Farm-to-table beef is increasing in popularity in Tennessee. Producers considering jumping into the "chuckwagon" can learn from their colleagues by reading a publication available through the UT Center for Profitable Agriculture.

SPRING HILL, Tenn. — Tennesseans are embracing the locally grown farm-to-table movement, and the state’s beef producers are responding to the demand. Family farms across the state are raising beef for local consumers and sharing the stories of their success.

Tennessee Value-Added Beef: Entrepreneur Experiences is an online publication of the University of Tennessee Center for Profitable Agriculture. Nine beef producers from Sullivan County to Tipton County provide details of their operations and lessons learned along the way.

Rob Holland, director of the University of Tennessee Center for Profitable Agriculture, says, “These producers have shared their experiences to help others better understand the challenges, risks and opportunities that exist in this industry.”

Beef producers may sell direct to consumers, either from the farm or at a farmers market, if they are licensed as farm-based meat retailer with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture. Brad Smith, of Three Forks Cattle Company near Pall Mall, sells his beef directly. “Our customers like to know that it’s been born on our place, and know that we’ve taken care of it,” he said. Sales at a local farmers market make up about three-fourths of the company’s sales in the recent year. He also sells wholesale beef to a specialty grocer nearby.

Phil Baggett, of Tennessee Grass Fed Farm in Clarksville, sells beef directly to consumers in Montgomery, Cheatham, Davidson, Williamson and Rutherford counties. He and wife Kathy have more than 1,600 customers from Clarksville to Murfreesboro. Listening to customers has helped the Baggetts make adjustments in production and processing to provide a more desirable product. “The customer is always right,” he says. The Baggetts plan to expand their online sales and grow their herd as demand increases.

The UT Value-Added Beef Program provides information and education for anyone interested in direct marketing of beef. Many online resources are available at no charge. Value-added beef is only one program of UT’s Center for Profitable Agriculture, which provides educational materials and technical assistance to Tennessee farmers interested in value-added enterprises to improve farm income. Check out their website at https://ag.tennessee.edu/cpa/Pages/default.aspx

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.

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, director, Center for Profitable Agriculture, 931-486-2777, 
Megan Bruch Leffew, marketing specialist, Center for Profitable Agriculture, 931-486-2777, mleffew@utk.edu