Lois G. Britt Agribusiness Center

The Lois G. Britt Agribusiness Center was established at Mount Olive College, now the University of Mount Olive, in 2002 as a regional center for outreach and development to support the region’s agricultural community as well as agricultural academic programs at the university. In conjunction with the Center’s purpose and mission, the Agribusiness Center has been awarded more than $3 million in grants to advocate and support agricultural and rural communities to ensure economic viability and farmland preservation. Impactful outreach currently administered by the Agribusiness Center offers cost-share funding opportunities to farm families in 33 counties across central and eastern North Carolina to enhance the expansion and diversification of agribusinesses and agricultural production operations. The Agribusiness Center exposes agriculture students in university programs to an extensive network of agriculturists across multiple disciplines providing them the unique opportunity to grow as advocates and to engage with industry professionals. Development through the Center also provides support for facility and and program expansion and growth to enhance the overall student experience.


Agribusiness is the business of agriculture, including farming of food and natural fiber. It also includes manufacturing, and wholesale and retail sales in North Carolina, the U.S.A. and worldwide. Agribusiness is the world’s largest industry responsible for feeding and clothing over 6 billion people worldwide.

Agribusiness Business Center

To foster synergism within the agricultural business community, through environmental stewardship and Christian ethics by providing educational opportunities, outreach initiatives, and sustainable partnerships.


UMO AgPrime Funded by NC Tobacco Trust Fund Commission

AgPrime Mini-Grant Cost-Share Application Period Opens November 2023

Click here to apply.

University of Mount Olive AgPrime provides grants to North Carolina farmers for new and innovative agricultural project ideas that will increase farm profits. This grant program, which is supported by the North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund Commission, was designed to strengthen farms and communities that were negatively impacted by the downturn of the tobacco economy. To learn more about the NC Tobacco Trust Fund Commission (NCTTFC) please visit: http://tobaccotrustfund.org/

UMO AgPrime Grants are available in the following counties: Beaufort, Bertie, Bladen, Brunswick, Camden, Carteret, Chowan, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Currituck, Dare, Duplin, Gates, Hertford, Hoke, Hyde, Jones, Lee, Lenoir, Moore, Montgomery, New Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Pender, Richmond, Robeson, Scotland, Tyrrell and Washington.

Cost-share grants of up to $10,000 are available through this program to fund innovative and replicable projects aimed at improving farm economic development on agricultural operations.  If you have questions about eligibility or other questions please contact us for more information. Please, only one application per farm. The deadline for submitting applications is December 15, 2023.

Farmland Preservation

Farm and Forest Preservation Plans

The University of Mount Olive’s Lois G. Britt Agribusiness Center, located in eastern North Carolina, recognizes and supports the agriculture industry so vital to North Carolina. The Agribusiness Center has been actively involved in efforts to encourage and support agriculture and agribusinesses through the development of Farmland Preservation plans in 25 counties. The Agribusiness Center has developed preservation plans with funding received from The North Carolina Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund (ADFP) administered through the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Family farms and forests are the backbone of agriculture in North Carolina. Agriculture is the number one industry in the state and forestry and forest products are recognized as the largest manufacturing industry. Numerous factors are challenging both industries. An aging farm population, growth and development pressure on limited natural resources, and limited land assets to support the expansion of farming and forestry operations force producers and landowners to work diligently to survive the changing climate of agriculture.

The University of Mount Olive’s Agribusiness Center recognizes the need to assist farms and forests remain viable and the Agribusiness Center conducts trainings, workshops and conferences to address the needs of the agricultural community. Through the development of farmland preservation plans, the Center assesses the current state of agriculture and identifies challenges and opportunities that exist for agriculture in each county. The preservation plans additionally set forth a set of recommendations aimed at addressing these challenges and opportunities. Each plan is unique to each county and reflects this uniqueness through the recommendations and action steps proposed.

Each plan is developed with input from multiple audiences including farmers, foresters, agribusinesses, and non-farm residents of the county. Data from these target audiences help to identify strategies for local agencies, landowners and local governments to encourage and support farm families.

After plan development, each plan is reviewed and endorsed by the county’s Board of Commissioners and certified by NC Department of Agriculture. Upon certification, the county receives a higher status for funding consideration for farmland preservation and agricultural development grants. The county also realizes a reduction in grant match requirement based on county tier designation.

Currently, there are 61 counties with farm preservation plans in place statewide. The Agribusiness Center has been involved in the creation of 25 of those 61 plans. For more information contact Dr. Sandy Maddox at smaddox@umo.edu or call 919-658-7682.

Links to the endorsed and certified plans are below. Please feel free to contact the Lois G. Britt Agribusiness Center with any questions or comments.

Wayne County Farmland Protection Plan

Farm Transition


North Carolina farm families and landowners face many challenges. The average age of farmers continues to rise and North Carolina continues to show record losses in farm and forestland. These trends and others threaten the generational transfer of family farms unless landowners begin to plan for the future.

Farm transition is a comprehensive approach to keeping farms in production as they pass from one generation to the next.

There are numerous multi-generational farms in operation in North Carolina today. However, few of these farm families have planned for what happens to the farm when the person who currently makes the major decisions decides to retire or passes away. Transitional planning can help to alleviate the obstacles that successors will face, while ensuring the continued financial health of the farm family and business.

University of Mount Olive’s Lois G. Britt Agribusiness Center has worked with multiple counties in central and eastern North Carolina to create farm and forest protection plans which identified challenges facing farm families. These plans, almost universally, identified a critical need for farm transition planning and education for farmers and landowners as a first step to ensure financial stability.

The United States Department of Agriculture Risk Management Agency in 2012 awarded University of Mount Olive funding to provide educational events and workshops for landowners and farm families. These events and workshops will feature experts who will provide information and resources to jump start the planning process.

University of Mount Olive’s Agribusiness Center will partner with multiple partners to provide day-long regional events titled “Planning for the Future of Your Farm”. Topics will cover:

  • The Tools of Farm Transfer
  • Starting the Transfer Conversation
  • Basic Estate Planning Documents: Wills, Trusts, Gifting
  • Federal and State Tax Updates
  • Letting go – Generational Transfer
  • Creating a Team of Advisors

Additional workshops will be conducted throughout the region, engaging commodity groups, co-ops, forestry associations and other organizations. The workshops will focus on specific issues identified by attendees and will provide more comprehensive details to address identified issues. Workshops can range in length from a 45 minute to a half-day presentation based on the needs of the requesting audience.

For more information or to schedule a workshop in your area contact University of Mount Olive’s Agribusiness Center at: 919-658-7510.

Forestry Workshops


In October 2011, The NC Tobacco Trust Fund Commission provided funding support to Mount Olive College to provide educational opportunities to forest landowners, with the ultimate goal to establish forestry associations in Greene, Lenoir, Duplin and Wayne Counties. In each county’s Farmland Protection Plan, landowner education and promotion of forest productsTobacco Trust Fund or markets were identified as needs of landowners. The initiation of a county forestry association was noted as one way to provide education for forest landowners. Existing forestry associations across the state are recognized to be important for landowner networking and training.

The grant requires three meetings be held in each county over the next 18 months to address topics relevant and important to forest landowners in each county. The workshop topics may cover taxes, land use options, estate planning, forestry management plans and other topics that workshop participants deem relevant to land management. The goals of the workshops are to:

  • provide needed information to landowners
  • encourage key leaders in each county to recognize the importance of county forestry associations that will continue networking and educational opportunities for the landowners in each county.

Forestry Summit


These regional forest landowner summits were made possible through a grant from:


Planning for these meetings were conducted by:

Gold Sponsors

  • NC Tree Farm Program
  • NC Farm Bureau Federation

Silver Sponsors

  • Carolina Loggers Association
  • Crop Production Services
  • NC Sustainable Forestry Initiative – Implementation Committee
  • The Roanoke Center

Bronze Sponsors

  • Bodenhamer Farms
  • Domtar
  • Enviva
  • The Farmer’s Connection
  • NC Forestry Association
  • NC Pine Needle Producers Association
  • Tugwell Consulting Forestry


  • Association of Consulting Foresters
  • Conservation Trust for North Carolina
  • Forest Guild
  • Forest Landowners Association
  • National Wild Turkey Federation
  • National Woodland Owners Association
  • NC Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund
  • NC Coastal Land Trust
  • NC Department of Agriculture
  • NC Wildlife Resources Commission
  • Society of American Foresters

Grass-fed Beef


The Lois G. Britt Agribusiness Center was founded at University of Mount Olive in 2002 to provide a center for agribusiness development and agricultural education in eastern North Carolina. Agriculture is North Carolina’s number one industry, adding over $78 billion annually to the state’s economy. University of Mount Olive is located in the heart of eastern agriculture and the creation of the Center offers a unique opportunity for both students interested in agriculture and for outreach efforts that impact agricultural producers in the region.

Dr. Don Scott served as the establishing director for the Agribusiness Center. Dr. Scott worked with agricultural professionals in eastern North Carolina and leaders at University of Mount Olive to launch the Agribusiness Center. Dr. Scott was also instrumental in working with leaders at University of Mount Olive including President emeritus J. William Byrd to establish the agribusiness curriculum in 2002. Traditional students were then able to study Agribusiness at University of Mount Olive.

In 2007, the Lois G. Britt Agribusiness Center was dedicated and moved to the newly constructed W. Burkette and Rose M. Raper Hall. Britt served agriculture in various capacities for over 30 years. Ms. Britt worked with Cooperative Extension in Duplin County as an extension agent and ultimately county extension director. Lois G. Britt also worked as Vice President of Murphy Family Farms and as Special Assistant to the President of Murphy-Brown, LLC. Lois G. Britt was a distinguished friend and supporter of University of Mount Olive.

The Agribusiness Center is currently housed within the School of Agriculture and Biological Sciences which was created in July of 2019. Dr. Sandy Maddox currently serves as Dean of the School. Dr. Maddox joined the University in 2007 as Associate Director of the Agribusiness Center and was promoted to Director in 2010. Dr. Maddox was additionally named Chair of the Agriculture Division in 2014. Before joining the Lois G. Britt Agribusiness Center, she worked in the agricultural field for 30 years with NC State University, NC Cooperative Extension and the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Mr. Edward Olive currently serves as Director of the Lois G. Britt Agribusiness Center. He was named Director in August 2019. After returning to his alma mater as an employee is 2012, Mr. Olive initially served as the Project Development Specialist for the Agribusiness Center. He was later appointed to the position of Assistant Director in July 2014, followed by his promotion to Associate Director in November 2017.


The mission of the Lois G. Britt Agribusiness Center is expressed through outreach efforts, partnerships, and academic programs to benefit agricultural and rural communities across North Carolina.

Lois G. Britt Agribusiness Center Mission

Foster synergism within the agricultural business community, through environmental stewardship and Christian ethics by providing educational opportunities, outreach initiatives, and sustainable partnerships.

Outreach programming

  • Economic development
  • Farmland preservation
  • Farm transition
  • Forest management
  • Production options

Student learning support

  • Facility development
  • Private and public funding

Resource development

  • Grant partnerships

Outreach education

  • Conferences
  • Workshops
  • Field days

Business support and development

  • AgPrime cost-share grant opportunities

The Lois G. Britt Agribusiness Center focuses on serving three main groups. These are the students of the agriculture programs, agriculturists, and the Original Free Will Baptist church–the founding church of University of Mount Olive and the rural communities in which they are located. As such, the Lois G. Britt Agribusiness Center is actively involved in numerous educational and outreach efforts to serve each group.

University of Mount Olive now offers students the opportunity to earn a bachelor’s degree through seven agricultural degree programs, Agribusiness, Agricultural Education, Animal Science, Plant Science, Environmental and Natural Resources, Agriculture Production Systems and Veterinary BioSciences. Agribusiness programs began in 2002, Agricultural Education was established in 2007, followed by Agriculture Production Systems in 2015. The Animal Science, Plant Science, Environmental and Natural Resources, and Veterinary BioSciences degrees were added in 2019. New degree programs and formats are being considered for addition to the School of Agriculture and Biological Sciences.