As the new president for the Tennessee 4-H Alumni, Matt Fennel is focused on growing its reach across the state.

“There are some big days ahead of us in the future if we continue to build on the foundation that has been laid before us,” Fennel says. “I think we have lots of room to build and grow. There are tens of thousands of people who would qualify as alumni members across the state. We have to continue to connect to them and get them involved.”

A former 4-H member himself, a longtime member of the Alumni Council, and advocate for the agriculture industry, he recognizes the importance of 4-H in the lives of young people in Tennessee.

Fennel was very active in 4-H while growing up on his livestock and row crop farm in Obion County. He participated in the swine project, plus public speaking, citizenship and leadership competitions. He won the state in the 4-H swine project and was one of the last groups to attend National 4-H Congress when it was held in Chicago.

After high school, Fennel attended the University of Tennessee – Martin to earn his bachelor of science in agricultural business. After graduation, he started his career as an insurance agent for Tennessee Farm Bureau Insurance in Obion County, and in 2011, he transitioned to the Federation side of Farm Bureau to serve as regional field director for West Tennessee.

“I have stayed involved and in contact with 4-H folks my whole life,” Fennel says. “I was asked to serve on the Alumni Council about four to five years ago. I never sought to be president, but I am proud to be here.”

Fennel encourages anyone interested in supporting the future of 4-H to add their contact information to the Tennessee 4-H Alumni database, available at

– By Hannah Nave Lewis