Dr. Dennis Fennewald and His Team Present Their Comparisons on Beef Production Business Models
Join Rural Reimagined in celebrating the research of Associate Professor in the School of Agriculture Dr. Dennis Fennewald and his agricultural student assistants Macy Johnson and Holden Cornett. Their research titled “Comparison of Regenerative and Traditional Beef Production Business Models” focused on two business production models in three herds containing 20, 100, and 300 cows. The first method they studied was Regenerative Agriculture, which increases soil organic matter and generally follows the Soil Health Principles without much off-farm reliance. Regenerative Agriculture farms “have a goal of year-round grazing and do not purchase synthetic fertilizer, renovate pastures, feed hay, or own hay equipment” based on local producers’ reports.
The other model Dr. Fennewald’s team studied was Traditional, which is “defined as typical practices of Tennessee beef farmers and outlined by the University of Tennessee extension agriculture economist.” Unlike their counterpart, farms employing the Traditional method feed hay for almost half the year, own hay equipment, renovate pastures, and purchase synthetic fertilizers, according to data from UTK’s 2023 Cow/Calf Budget. While most farms use the Traditional method for their beef production, Dr. Fennewald’s research indicates that Regenerative Agriculture models spend less money up front and have a higher return on investment than the Traditional method, which at times, loses money! Because of these results, Dr. Fennewald’s team concludes that Regenerative Agriculture farms “should have more economic resilience.” His team plans to present their findings at the Research and Creative Inquiry Day on campus. Consider visiting Dr. Fennewald, Macy, and Holden’s poster on Inquiry Day to find out more about their research. Rural Reimagined encourages other faculty members to share their research with us! Wings up!