Exhibits, Career Exploration, and Music All Part of UMO AgFest 2024

Exhibits, Career Exploration, and Music All Part of UMO AgFest 2024

March 22, 2024
Contact:  Rhonda Jessup, Director of Public Relations

MOUNT OLIVE – Over 2,500 high school students, advisors, exhibitors, and volunteers from the NC mountains to the coast, as well as some from SC, attended the University of Mount Olive’s Annual AgFest event. Exhibitors were on hand to talk with students about farm-related services and technologies including precision agriculture, livestock management, forestry, conservation, crop production, greenhouse management, and much, much more.  There was live music throughout the day including a concert by Nashville recording country music artist and Wayne County native Eli Winders.

“This by far has been our biggest and best AgFest to date,” said Edward Olive Director of the Lois G. Britt Agribusiness Center at UMO.  “The purpose of this event is to introduce FFA and 4-H members and advisors to what the University of Mount Olive has to offer academically and to what the agriculture industry has to offer in the form of career opportunities.  By all measures, we checked every box!  It is very rewarding to see so many of our graduates who are now agricultural education teachers come back to AgFest year after year and bring their FFA chapters.  We also had many returning alumni come as exhibitors.  AgFest is a celebration of not only agriculture but also of community and connections with so many great partners.”

The University partnered with multiple sponsors including presenting sponsors Piggly Wiggly, Got to Be NC, and Smithfield Foods, as well as other agribusinesses and commodity groups to allow students to come to campus and enjoy a day of educational and fun activities, eat great food, and enjoy a country music concert at almost no cost. We appreciate all of our sponsors that help to make it all possible.  This year, in addition to the presenting sponsors, the event had three Gold level sponsors including Touchstone Energy Cooperatives in partnership with local cooperatives, Tri-County Electric Membership Cooperative and Four County Electric Membership Cooperative, House of Raeford Farms and Johnson Breeders, Inc., and Smithfield Foods.

To add some excitement to an already great day, just before the concert, Smithfield Foods Hog Production President Kraig Westerbeek presented a $250,000 scholarship endowment for agriculture students at UMO.

“Many of these students have never been on a university campus,” said Olive.  “Our UMO students and faculty in the School of Agriculture and Biological Sciences and other departments across campus enjoyed hosting these high school students and sharing what life is like at UMO. We could not do this without the wonderful sponsors, committed FFA advisors, and volunteers including our UMO students, faculty, and staff that help us make it possible!”

Anyone interested in becoming an exhibitor or sponsor for next year’s event scheduled for Thursday, March 27, can email EOlive@umo.edu for additional details.

The University of Mount Olive is a private institution rooted in the liberal arts tradition with defining Christian values. The University was founded by the Convention of Original Free Will Baptists.

To see more photos from AgFest, visit https://images.umo.edu/2024/Ag-Fest.

 

Over 2,500 high school students, advisors, exhibitors, and volunteers from the NC mountains to the coast, as well as some from SC, attended the University of Mount Olive’s Annual AgFest event. There was live music and line dancing throughout the day including a concert by Nashville recording country music artist and Wayne County native Eli Winders.

Students talked with exhibitors about farm-related services and technologies including precision agriculture, livestock management, forestry, conservation, crop production, greenhouse management, and much, much more.