University of Mount Olive Students Compete in Farm Bureau Discussion Meet

MOUNT OLIVE –Ten University of Mount Olive students recently competed at the regional level in the Collegiate Discussion Meet sponsored by the North Carolina Farm Bureau Federation. The Discussion Meet contest is designed to simulate a committee meeting where discussion and active participation are expected from each participant. This competition is evaluated on an exchange of ideas and information on a pre-determined topic. The judges are looking for the contestant that offers constructive criticism, cooperation, and communication while analyzing agricultural problems and developing solutions.

“Having the opportunity to compete for a second year was great,” stated Hannah Singleton, a junior studying agriculture education from Goldsboro.   “I learn something new with each set of issues we discuss and it is always a great experience.” Singleton and senior agriculture education major Reva Orr of Gray’s Creek were the top two competitors emerging from the regional competition and both moved to the state level competition in Raleigh to pair off against students from North Carolina State University and North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University.

“While preparing for the event was a great deal of work, it proved to be a great experience for our class and enabled us to better understand the critical issues that the agriculture industry is facing as we move into the future.” stated Orr.  

Other competitors included agriculture education students; senior Brian Carter of Clinton; senior Melissa Mayo of Smithfield; junior Jessica Hogan of Mount Olive; junior Kim Ballance of Elizabeth City; junior Ryan Kovacs of New Bern; junior Jessica Gordon of Asheboro; senior Julie Roberts of Virginia and David Thomas a junior in agribusiness from Roxboro. Discussion meet competitors must be engaged in agriculture curriculums. While the knowledge gained is important to the competitors, those students progressing to the state level of competition also receive a cash prize for their efforts from the NC Farm Bureau Federation.

“This event provides an opportunity not only for students to learn about pertinent issues in agriculture, but to improve their verbal communication and persuasion skills to offer solutions for these issues,” stated Dr. Sandy Maddox, director of the Lois G. Agribusiness Center at University of Mount Olive. “While there can only be two that can advance, all of the students benefit from participating in this event.”

University of Mount Olive is a private institution rooted in the liberal arts tradition with defining Christian values. The College, sponsored by the Convention of Original Free Will Baptists, has locations in Mount Olive, New Bern, Wilmington, Goldsboro, Research Triangle Park, Washington and Jacksonville.  For more information, visit

Picture at Top, Left to Right: Kim Balance of Elizabeth City, Brian Carter of Clinton, Melissa Mayo of Smithfield, Ryan Kovacs of New Bern, Jessica Hogan of Mount Olive, Hannah Singleton of Goldsboro, Reva Orr of Fayetteville, Jessica Gordon of Asheboro , David Thomas of Roxboro and Julie Roberts of Virginia.