Shep Stearns joined the Animal Science Department on May 17th as an Extension Specialist working with the Dairy Business Innovation Initiatives (DBII) Project. In his role on this project, Shep will help facilitate educational events and grant sub awards for farmers who are interested in either starting or expanding a value-added dairy enterprise on their farm.
The opportunity to work on DBII is particularly important to Shep because he was born and raised on a producer-processor dairy farm in Storrs, CT. After graduating from UCONN in 2012 with a BA in African American Studies, Shep split his time between milking cows with his family members in the morning and coordinating an agriculture related education program at a local non-profit in the afternoon. In 2015 Shep and his wife, Leah, moved to Chapel Hill, NC in order for Leah to pursue graduate school at UNC. During this time, Shep worked with several North Carolina producer-processor dairies in a variety of professional capacities. More recently, Shep completed an MS in Agricultural and Extension Education at NC State. Shep is excited to bring his experience and skill set to the DBII Project. He hopes this program will play a pivotal role in helping Tennessee dairy farms remain viable for generations to come.