MOUNT OLIVE — More than 1,200 high school FFA and 4-H members from across North Carolina flocked to the University of Mount Olive for the third annual Ag-Fest to promote and celebrate awareness of agriculture and other academic opportunities at UMO. Students came from as far east as Elizabeth City and from as far west as Concord, and areas in between representing 28 counties and 51 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. Attendees also had the opportunity to socialize with one another as they played corn-hole and Frisbee and enjoyed a cookout on the lawn. For the finale of the day students gathered in Kornegay Arena for the much anticipated concert featuring country music stars Jana Kramer, Kasey Tyndall, and the Blake Kearney Band.
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 the Original Piggly Wiggly, Got To Be NC and UMO Fall Fest 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 from Got to Be NC vendors, 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 enjoy 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 to make it possible.”
On the following day, the university held its first Ag Demo Day. There were six different industry demonstrations including demos on livestock artificial insemination, virtual welding, precision ag technology, agricultural marketing, and college preparation. Maddox indicated that about 200 students returned for Ag Demo Day.
“This is the first year we have offered Ag Demo Day. It was offered to encourage folks from farther away to come enjoy Ag-Fest and instead of driving back after the concert they would stay and participate in some educational workshops the following day,” said Maddox.
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, Outreach and Extension Education.