Meet our Team
The Division of Business Development is a team of professionals dedicated to helping you succeed in creating or expanding your agricultural, food, or forestry business. Contact one of us today for more information on how we can help.
As the Business Development Director, Andy leads the division's consultants and assists with economic development projects. Prior to joining the Business Development team, Holt represented District 76 in the Tennessee House of Representatives from 2010 to 2020. During his tenure, Holt served on several committees and was chairman of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee. He and his wife, Ellie, own and operate Holt Family Farms, an agri-tourism and diversified livestock farming operation in Dresden.
Holt is a former Financial Services Officer at Farm Credit Services and former Greenfield Fertilizer Manager at Weakley County Farmers Cooperative. His educational background includes a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Economics and Business with a minor in Animal Science from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. He earned his Master of Business Administration from the University of Tennessee at Martin with a focus on Economics and Finance.
As Executive Assistant, Rachel oversees contracts, grants, budget, and human resources for the Business Development Division. Prior to joining the Business Development team, Rachel worked in the Consumer and Industry Services Division where she oversaw all contracts and procurement. Rachel served as Constituent Services Assistant for 7 years in the Tennessee State Senate, working for Lt. Governor John Wilder and Senate Republican Leader Ben Atchley. Rachel also has 5 years of non-profit management experience.
Rachel is a native of Georgia, having moved to Nashville to attend Lipscomb University. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and History, with an emphasis in Public Administration. Rachel is currently pursuing her Master of Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communications from the University of Tennessee – Knoxville.
The Business Development Consultants pursue new industries and expansion of existing agricultural and forestry businesses. They assist through industry development, marketing, technical and industry support, financial assistance, and ideas for innovation.
Expertise: Pick TN Products
Debbie joined the staff at the Department of Agriculture in 2008 as Statewide Outreach Coordinator for the Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program. In her current role, Debbie manages the Pick Tennessee Products Program, providing assistance to new and existing businesses as well as oversees the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.
Before joining the staff at the department, Debbie held both marketing and advertising positions in the private sector. She also served as Communications Coordinator for the Tennessee Pork Producers Association. Debbie grew up in Coffee County on her family’s purebred hog farm.
Expertise: Food Manufacturing
Mike has been with the Department of Agriculture since 2014, originally serving as Outreach Coordinator for the Consumer and Industry Services division. In his current role in Business Development, Mike is a resource for new and expanding food manufacturers, assisting them with developing marketing opportunities.
Prior to joining the department, Mike worked as a food marketing and product development consultant. With 36 years in the food industry, Mike holds a Bachelor of Science in Food Science from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and a Master of Science from Tennessee State University.
Expertise: Agricultural Enterprise Fund
Will joined the Business Development team in 2019 and serves as a business consultant focused on agribusiness development. In his role, Will manages the Agricultural Enterprise Fund and the social media efforts of the division. He previously served as the department’s Public Information Officer, coordinating media relations, communications, and public outreach.
Prior to joining the Department of Agriculture’s staff, Will served as legislative assistant in the Tennessee General Assembly. He attended the University of Tennessee at Knoxville where he obtained a degree in Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communication and served as the student body president. Will grew up in Portland on his family’s beef, poultry, and forage production farm.
Expertise: International Marketing
Christina joined the Business Development team in 2022. As an International Marketing Business Consultant, her works centers on increasing farm income at the global level. One way of doing that is by connecting to buyers in countries across the world. Many times her role includes taking farmers and businesses from Tennessee to those countries oversees to make the connection in-person.
While earning her Bachelor of Science in Agricultural and Resource Economics from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Greer studied in the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, and Guatemala. She earned a Master of Science in Agricultural and Resource Economics, focusing on agriculture economics and statistics, from the University of Tennessee.
Expertise: Wine, Spirits, and Hemp
Kyle joined the Business Development team in 2018. As a Business Consultant, he focuses on the wine, spirits, and hemp industries. Prior to joining the Department of Agriculture’s staff, Kyle worked as a recruitment coordinator at the University of Tennessee, Herbert College of Agriculture.
Kyle grew up in Lenoir City where he was active in 4-H. He attended the University of Tennessee at Knoxville where he earned his Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Economics and a Master of Business Administration.
Expertise: Forestry Consultant
David joined the TN Department of Agriculture in 2022. As the division’s Forestry Business Consultant he supports growth of the wood products industry by assisting new and expanding forestry businesses.
David has over 30 years of experience in the forest management industry. For nearly 25 years he worked for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources as a Forest Marketing and Utilization Specialist. Prior to that role, he was the State Silviculturist and Forest Planning and Operations Analyst. David also operated a private forestry industry consulting business in Michigan. He managed timber sales, conducted timber appraisals, served as an expert witness for timber trespass, and wrote management plans for clients through the Forest Stewardship Program.
He holds a Bachelors of Arts in Journalism, a Bachelor of Science in Forestry, and a master’s degree in Forestry with an emphasis in Silviculture.
Expertise: Livestock, Meat Processing
Wendy came on staff at the Tennessee Department of Agriculture in 2007 to manage livestock programs for the Tennessee Agriculture Enhancement Program. While still assisting with outreach efforts, she took over Livestock Marketing functions in 2009 working directly with producers marketing livestock off farm through retail as well as overseeing the Market News & Livestock Grading programs. She continues her work with livestock marketing, but has added business development priorities involving meat processors and the expansion of harvest capacity/processing in Tennessee.
Wendy was raised on her family’s dairy and row crop operation in Weakley County. She now assists in managing her family’s registered cattle operation and feed store in Warren County. She attended the University of Tennessee at Martin where she received her Bachelor of Science in Agriculture and a Master of Business Administration.
Kacey joined the Business Development team in 2019. As a Business Consultant, she focuses on expanding the Agritourism industry. Before becoming a Business Consultant, Kacey worked for UT/TSU Extension in Rutherford County with their 4-H Youth Development program and the Rutherford County Farmers Market.
Growing up in Southern Maryland, Kacey was raised on her family’s Agritourism farm. She moved to Tennessee to attend Middle Tennessee State University where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Agribusiness as well as a Master of Education in Ag Educational Leadership. While at MTSU, Kacey chartered and served as the first president of the Agritourism Club. She also served as the Student Coordinator for the MTSU School of Agriculture’s two annual Agritourism events.
The Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program (TAEP) was established in 2005 to provide cost share dollars to agricultural producers for the purpose of making long-term investments in Tennessee farms and communities. Participation allows producers to maximize farm profits, adapt to changing market situations, improve operation safety, increase farm efficiency, and make a positive economic impact in their communities.
Learn more here.
Rachel McKee Taylor
To help Tennessee's farmers and agribusinesses make sound marketing decisions, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture and the United States Department of Agriculture provide the Tennessee Market News Service. Tennesseans have relied on this service for many years. The trained reporters below gather and disseminate complete, accurate, unbiased and up to the minute agricultural market news information depicting the current conditions of supply, demand, price, trend, movement and other information affecting the trade of livestock, grain and other commodities.
Timely and reliable information is compiled and updated several times a day through voice mail recordings via a toll-free hotline service provided by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture. The number to call is 1-800-342-8206. In cooperation with USDA, the market news service also disseminates information statewide through local media. Learn more here.