UT Martin students provide study for Century Farm in Benton County

University of Tennessee at Martin students involved in the advanced farm and ranch management course in fall 2022 created a land-use study for Renee Williams, owner of the Moore Family Century Farm in Benton County. The project’s goal was to generate ideas for the farm that would help create possible revenue streams.

The farm was established in 1870 by Williams’ African American ancestors, John and Harriet Strayhorn Moore. The farm includes 70 acres leased for row crop production and 130 acres of timber. Williams says she is thankful for the students’ help in assessing opportunities and risks and making suggestions for the future.

“The assistance we are receiving generates hope and excitement about maintaining our Moore Family Century Farm legacy,” said Williams. “This document will serve as a compass to help us navigate the steps to build a productive business that contributes to the growth of agriculture in Tennessee and the rural community of Benton County.”

The project began when Williams contacted Landy Fuqua, director of the university’s Regional Entrepreneurship and Economic Development Center, and asked about possible revenue streams for the family farm. Fuqua knew that a partnership between Danny Morris’ advanced farm and ranch management course and the Moore Family Century Farm would be a perfect fit. Morris is lecturer of agricultural economics.

“We appreciate Ms. Williams agreeing to allow our students to assist with this project,” said Fuqua. “This was not only a learning experience for our students but also allowed for Mr. Danny Morris to use his expertise in the agricultural industry to assist Ms. Williams and her family on ideas to generate additional revenue on their heritage farm.”

Students involved in the project were Drew Grimmit, a senior agricultural business major from Hampshire, Shelby Petty, a senior agricultural business major from Reagan, and Sarah White, a junior agricultural business major from Collierville. Both Grimmit and Petty have since graduated. Each student had a different role in the project, then came together at the end to create the final proposal.

In Morris’ course outline, students in advanced farm and ranch management have a goal of developing problem-solving and risk-management skills needed on the modern farm or ranch operation. Students must also use spreadsheets to perform production planning and analysis of farm and ranch problems with linear programming, simulations and other tools. Morris said this real-world experience helped them reach their objectives.

“The agricultural business program prides itself in offering experiential-learning opportunities for our students. This helps our students learn that what we are teaching them is not just theory but has real-world application.” Morris said. “The class became very engaged in the project and produced an excellent product. I could not be any prouder of my students.”

For more information about partnerships, contact Fuqua at lfuqua@utm.edu. To learn more about the Moore Family Century Farm visit www.visitmoorefarm.org. Find out more about the REED Center and its services at www.utm.edu.


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