Dr. Jim Byford is Dean Emeritus of the College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences at the University of Tennessee at Martin, where he served as dean for over 23 years. His career has spanned over 40 years, including appointments at the University of Georgia and UT Knoxville. He is a Certified Wildlife Biologist and has a Ph.D. in wildlife from Auburn University – with minors in forestry and fisheries and a B.S. in agriculture. Byford has received numerous local, state, and national awards related to agriculture, wildlife, youth education, conservation, and communications – and in 2016 was named to the National 4-H Hall of Fame.
Matt Fennel was an active 4-H Member in Obion County. He received a degree from the University of Tennessee at Martin. Matt currently serves as a regional field services administrator for the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation. He also serves on the executive council for Tennessee 4-H Alumni & Friends.
Robert serves as Dean for Extension at the University Of Tennessee. Prior to serving as UT Extension Dean, Robert served as Assistant and Associate Dean for UT Extension from 2010-2017, as a member of the Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering faculty at Iowa State University from 2004-2010, and as a faculty member and Extension Specialist in the University of Tennessee Agricultural Engineering Department from 1995-2004. Dr. Burns holds a BS in Agricultural Engineering, MS in Environmental Engineering, and PhD in Civil Engineering from The University of Tennessee and is a registered professional engineer. Robert grew up working on his family’s cow-calf and burley tobacco farm in Blount County, Tennessee.
John Calvin Bryant
John Calvin Bryant spent his youth as a 4-H member in Lawrence County. Over his nine year 4-H career, he was involved with the Communication/Public Speaking, Leadership, Sheep, and Swine projects. He served as Congress Governor and State Council Vice President. John Calvin is a current student at the University of Tennessee pursing a degree in Food Science. One day he hopes to work in food production and food security.
Dr. Tim Cross currently serves as the Chancellor of the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture. Tim received both his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Agricultural Economics from Oklahoma State University. Tim then received his Doctorate Degree, also in Agricultural Economics, from Oregon State in 1991. Tim began his work with UT Extension in 1994 by working as an Extension Specialist and became the Dean of Extension in 2008.
Kathy Brooks Finley has a long history of Tennessee 4-H participation. She is a former Robertson County 4-H member who participated in the dairy, leadership and citizenship projects. Until she started work with UT Extension, she served as a volunteer in three counties. Having received her B.S. in Home Economics from UT Knoxville, she completed her M.S. in Human Environmental Sciences at UT Martin. Kathy currently works as an extension agent in Robertson County. She and her husband, Frank, have four children and twelve grandchildren.
Former President of the Foundation Board, Joe Huffine, was a very active 4-H member from Washington County. He was successful in his project work, specifically in Public Speaking, Field Crops, and Poultry Judging. He currently serves as the Manager of Corporate and Member Services for the Tennessee Farmers’ Cooperative.
Julius Johnson served as the 36th Commissioner of Agriculture of Tennessee and now is retired. Before that, Julius served 37 years with the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation in several positions including the organization’s Chief Administrative Officer. Julius was an active 4-H member in his youth in Fentress County. He and his wife Karen now reside in Columbia, Tennessee. They have two children and three grandchildren.
Shaylyn Melhorn was an active 4-H member in Morgan County, where her main projects included Horse, Leadership, Sheep, and Veterinary Science. She also participated in Livestock Judging and Outdoor Meat Cookery. She was honored to serve in leadership positions at the state level, including State Representative-at-Large and State 4-H All Star Scribe. Currently a student at the University of Tennessee at Martin, Shaylyn is in the Ned Ray McWherter Institute, where she is majoring in Veterinary Health Technology.
David R. Reed
David R. Reed is a former member of the Weakley County 4-H. He attended UT Martin for three years and finished his Bachelor’s degree at the UT Knoxville in Agriculture Education. He co-founded and founded a number of companies involved in manufacturing, automotive, production agriculture and investment banking – spending most of his career in Atlanta, GA. Since he and his wife Carol returned to his family farm in 1997, David has devoted much of his time to ministries of the United Methodist Church, currently serving as V P of Development & Planned Giving for the United Methodist Foundation for the Memphis & TN Conferences. He also serves as the Lay Leader for the Memphis Conference.ears.
Lelan Statom, Senior Meteorologist at Nashville’s News Channel 5 Network, was an active Dyer County 4-H member, serving on the State Council in high school. As a student at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, he remained committed to the 4-H Program serving as president of the Collegiate 4-H chapter. While in college, Lelan spent his summers serving as the Athletic Director at the Milan 4-H Center. He has served as a volunteer leader in all three regions of the state and even served a two terms on the Davidson County Agricultural Extension Committee. Lelan is married to Dr. Yolanda Statom, an assistant principal with Metro-Nashville schools. Lelan and Yolanda have two children, Kayela and Taylor.
William “Bear” Stephenson
William “Bear” Stephenson is a 4-H alumnus from Anderson County, Tennessee. Bear was a very active 4-H member; he served as 4-H State Council president and was selected as the national winner of the poultry project in 1966. After graduating Tennessee Tech University, Stephenson was commissioned into the Army and was a first lieutenant in the Vietnam War. Since 1982, Bear has owned and operated Stephenson Realty and Auction.
Martha Jo Tolley
Martha Jo Tolley is Professor Emeritus and Former State 4-H Leader for the University of Tennessee 4-H Program. Her 4-H involvement began as a 4-H member in Decatur County. She served as a county 4-H Agent in Hawkins and in Anderson Counties before joining the state 4-H Staff with responsibilities for youth leadership development, curriculum development and 4-H event management. She served as the founding president of the Tennessee Association of Extension 4-H Workers and, following retirement as the State President and as State Secretary/Treasurer of the UTIA Retirees Association. She has been honored with induction into the National 4-H Hall of Fame.
Carol White was an active Coffee County 4-H member, participating in different service and leadership roles, from State Congress Speaker-of-the-Senate to State Council President. Carol graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Agriculture Sciences and National Resources, and went on to receive her Phar.D. at the UT College of Pharmacy. While at UTK, Carol served on the UT Board of Trustees and was awarded the Torchbearer Award. She currently works as an assistant professor at the UT College of Pharmacy, with a practice site at Hospital Corporation of America (HCA).
John Charles Wilson
John Charles Wilson served as President of Agricenter International for 15 ½ years, coming on board in October 2000 and retiring in July 2016. He came to Agricenter from a family farming background that has existed for 113 years. John Charles actively farmed for 33 years in partnership with his father Robert Wilson as Wilson & Wilson Farms of Arlington, Tennessee.
Mark Wilson is a former Marshall County 4-H member. He attended the University of Tennessee in Knoxville where he received his Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Science. Following graduation, he began work with Farm Credit and has spent his entire working career with the organization. Recently, he retired as the Tennessee Area Vice President for Farm Credit Mid-America. Mark has two children and two grandchildren.