University of Tennessee Extension has named Justin Rhinehart as Assistant Dean for Agriculture and Natural Resources and Community Economic Development. Rhinehart currently serves as a professor and beef cattle specialist in the UT Department of Animal Science.
A native of Loudon County, his family managed a diversified farming operation growing livestock, tobacco and nursery crops with family in Jefferson County. Rhinehart earned his bachelor of science degree from UT in 1999 in agriculture and extension education, and went on to earn an M.S. and Ph.D. in reproductive physiology from the University of Kentucky and West Virginia University, respectively. He served as assistant Extension professor in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Mississippi State University before joining the UT Department of Animal Science in 2010.
Since then he has moved up through the professorial ranks from assistant professor to professor, winning many awards and recognitions and co-authoring numerous academic papers and Extension publications. Most recently, Rhinehart received the UT Institute of Agriculture’s Charles and Patricia Goan Excellence in Customer Service Award in 2021. The honor is named for former Extension dean emeritus Charles Goan and his wife Pat and recognizes exemplary service to Extension clientele and excellence in the delivery of Extension materials. As an Extension beef cattle specialist, Rhinehart has worked to translate research findings into management practices that improve the profitability of beef cattle production and the quality of life for beef cattle farmers. His focus has been on training Extension agents and farmers on applying reproductive management technologies such as artificial insemination, embryo transfer, pregnancy diagnosis, in vitro embryo production and early pregnancy diagnosis. Rhinehart coordinates the Tennessee Master Beef Producer program that annually trains more than 2,000 beef cattle farmers on improving the health and wellbeing of their livestock, economic and environmental sustainability of their farming operation, and quality and safety of the food they produce. He also provides leadership for the Tennessee Beef Heifer Development Program, the Tennessee Bull Development and Evaluation Program, and the Bovine Reproductive Management Training Program. Each provides education and service to beef cattle farmers and ranchers across Tennessee, as well as others across the U.S. and in other countries.
“We are extremely fortunate to have someone with such strong experience and relationships with Tennessee’s farmers, businesses, and communities join the Extension leadership team,” said Ashley Stokes, dean and director of UT Extension. “He will help UT Extension continue to provide real life solutions across Tennessee in the areas of agriculture, natural resources, community development and areas of economic growth. I am excited to see him collaborate with our other Extension professionals and partners across Tennessee to strengthen our traditional programs as well as introduce new ideas.” The newly appointed assistant dean adds, “I am excited to enter this new role, working with county agents and specialists as we continue enhancing our delivery of education and service that improves the lives and livelihoods of farmers, families and communities across Tennessee.” Rhinehart currently manages his responsibilities at UT’s Middle Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center at Spring Hill, and he will remain located in Middle Tennessee for the next year. His appointment begins March 1, 2022.