MOUNT OLIVE — More than 1,425 high school FFA and 4-H members from across North Carolina flocked to the University of Mount Olive (UMO), for the fourth annual AG FEST to promote and celebrate awareness of agriculture and other academic opportunities at UMO. Students came from as far east as Camden, as far west as Iredell, as far north as Franklin County, as far south as Aynor County, S.C., and areas all in between. The attendees represented 33 counties and 63 schools.
During the event, participants had the opportunity to tour the campus and stop at various locations to listen to UMO students and faculty talk about academic program offerings and campus life. There were several industry demonstrations including livestock showing, ARC welders, Sampson County Bee Keepers, and B & S Equipment Company. Attendees also had the opportunity to socialize with one another as they played corn-hole and Frisbee and enjoyed a cookout. For the finale of the day students gathered in Kornegay Arena for the much anticipated concert featuring country music stars Fairground Saints and Parmalee.
Jada McNeil, a senior at Lakewood High School, said, “I love being a part of FFA because of the opportunities we have in the organization to reach out and help people. AG FEST is a great event that brings together fellow FFA members to highlight agriculture. It is so much fun!”
Dr. Sandy Maddox, Director of the Lois G. Britt Agribusiness Center, said, “Ag-Fest is just one way that the University of Mount Olive supports both FFA and 4-H organizations which promote youth leadership and development. For this event, the University partnered with multiple sponsors including Piggly Wiggly, NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Got to NC Program, and Bojangles, 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. Many of these students have never been on a university campus and our UMO Collegiate FFA members enjoyed hosting these high school students and sharing what life is like at UMO. We could not do this without the wonderful sponsors that help us make it possible.”
Sarah Best, a UMO senior Ag Business major from Newton Grove, said, “My favorite part of AG FEST every year is watching UMO fill up with all of these future agriculturalists.”
The University of Mount Olive offers degree programs in Agricultural Education and Agricultural Production Systems with concentrations in: Agricultural Business Applications, Animal Science, Environmental and Natural Resources, and Outreach and Extension Education.