Senior Extension Specialist
UK Agricultural Economics, CES
Center for Crop Diversification
KY Sustainable Agriculture, Research & Education (SARE)
I provide support and resources to Cooperative Extension personnel, other agriculture outreach professionals, and producers in Kentucky as well as the Southeast and Midwest regions of the United States.
At the Center for Crop Diversification we generate, aggregate, and host regional specialty crop production and marketing resources. These include specialty crop overviews, budgets, production resources, marketing guides, economic decision tools, and price reports. I spearheaded a redesign of our website and Facebook pages in 2016. My current priorities are promoting the site, strengthening our regional partnerships, and developing resources relevant to our clients. Working with my colleague, Christy Cassady, I produce a monthly newsletter, manage a Facebook Page, develop curricula, and regularly deliver lectures and workshops throughout the region.
Brett provides critical leadership for the Center for Crop Diversification and the KY USDA-SARE program. Brett is highly sought after for conducting outside evaluations because of the strong Extension networking and program development he has led in his own right. Brett continues to provide a great store of specialty crop resources that are highly valued by county agents - especially horticulture agents, but farmers and farm agency professionals, as well. CCD, as he notes, played a critical role throughout the pandemic providing timely TA resources - many created and delivered by Brett personally. I should note here that I have especially appreciated Brett's team leadership as we've added newer Extension Associates both to AEC and HORT, added interns, graduate students, and others working around the specialty crop spaces. He provides critical training and support across the College. Brett is a strong grant writer and grant manager. The CCD and our partners across CAFE and UK increasingly are drawing on Federal funding. This has included Brett stepping up to manage increasingly difficult budget and grant management. Brett received funding on 8 different Federally-funded projects in 2022. It’s also important to note that he is a great person to work with - providing intentional and helpful mentorship to junior team members and also accessible to me to sort through large-scale planning and projects with national funding and reach. He is highly sought after by county agents - an important measure for me, and demonstrates genuine care in his connections with people.
-2022 Year-End Performance Review Comments
Brett's programming in the state has been exceptional. He essentially lead the KY SARE team, including the state advisory board and leads key programming interactions with partners at KY State University. Video, monthly CCD newsletter, CD social media, CCD publication updates, new FSMA training resources, all receive primary support from Brett and he graciously provides added support to faculty in Horticulture for aspects of their Extension programming. Brett is a strong leader and mentor for our Extension Associate team both in AEC and HORT. Brett is also highly respected by county agents who he has also worked closely with to help them both develop and deliver resources of their own. Brett has a great vision for Extension resource needs and for effective delivery. He led the submission (with subsequent funding) of a new SCBG grant project on Digital Marketing, building on the successful Marketing for All curriculum he designed. He provides great support for the SSARE resources across the state on a very limited budget - highly leveraging that program for maximum reach and collaboration.
-2021 Year-End Performance Review Comments
The Center for Crop Diversification has been an amazing resource for agents and specialty crop producers during covid, and Brett has developed and directed the vast majority of this effort. Brett's engagement, accessibility, and creative program development for virtual training provided a high bar for Extension programming in this environment. His very successful Marketing for All program has been reframed and expanded for a subsequent Specialty Crop Block grant and this proposal has already been invited for full development by the reviewers. I was extremely proud of his recognition as the Outstanding UK Staff Member for 2020 - it was well deserved and against amazing competition all across campus. We are fortunate to have him on our Extension team - both for his abilities, leadership, responsiveness to need, and professionalism.
-2020 Year-End Performance Review Comments
"Brett keeps the Extension Associate productivity bar extremely high. But he works in such a way that inspires others around him to work harder and be better. He is the consummate professional communicator and program planner...Brett's initiative is hard to over state… He holds himself to the highest standards of self-improvement, but prioritizes these opportunities with a view toward what can help grow the programs and industry around him…The newsletter, Facebook and other media are highly effective and growing in reach and quality. The webinars and the website itself are of excellent quality that represent our UK programming in the most professional way possible…He manages a complex program, including complex funding and programming across multiple departments and institutions, and I cannot stress enough his excellence in assuring that the Kentucky SARE program remains well-regarded throughout the southern region."
-2016 Year-End Performance Review Comments
“Brett has been enormously productive…His efforts have been widely acclaimed by administrators, Extension professionals, and producers…Brett has been a superior professional. I can’t imagine anything more that anyone can do in this position…I have a lot of confidence to put him in any potentially sensitive situation professionally…Hard to overstate how easy it is to work with Brett. Mostly I'm trying to keep up with his energy and ideas myself to make sure he has the resources he needs. Brett is a solid self-starter and very creative.”
-2015 Year-End Performance Review Comments
“[Brett] sets an inclusive tone for our entire group, and provides a lot of social cohesion within the team and in our interactions with other faculty and staff…[He presents] a high standard of ethical behavior and conducting [himself] in a highly professional manner…His leadership of the graduate students and other staff has led to marked improvements in facilities and our capacity as a group…[Brett is] identifying key issues in our organizational structure and infrastructure that are limiting the quality of work that we do, and finding creative and effective solutions for all manners of problems. [His] ability to identify issues, and determine root causes, and apply solutions is impressive.”
- 2013 Year-End Performance Review Comments
"Excellent! I really enjoyed this class and learned a lot about sociology. Easily one of the best classes I have taken at UK."
"I really enjoyed the emphasis on learning in this class rather than the emphasis on grading."
"The style of class material made content easily relatable to real-world scenarios."
"Thoroughly enjoyed the professor and the way he taught the class. Looked forward to coming to class because he made things interesting."
"He’s got a nice beard."
- Student evaluations (2013 & 14)