MOUNT OLIVE — University of Mount Olive student Clara Ervin of Catawba recently won the North Carolina Farm Bureau College Discussion Meet. Ervin competed against five other competitors – two from NC State University, two from NC A&T State University and one additional competitor from UMO, Ryan Berglund a junior agriculture education student from Raleigh. Ervin will represent North Carolina at the American Farm Bureau Federation annual meeting in Kansas City, MOC in February in the National Discussion Meet.
“I am very proud of all of our students for competing well at the regional level and extremely proud of Clara for her preparation and persistence to succeed in winning this coveted award. To compete at the state level against some fierce competition from NC State and NC A&T State and to bring this award to the University of Mount Olive is very rewarding for all of us,” stated Dr. Sandy Maddox, director of the Lois G. Britt Agribusiness Center.
Seventeen University of Mount Olive students competed at the regional level of the NC Farm Bureau Collegiate Discussion Meet. 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.
“I feel extremely blessed to have been chosen as the state winner. The six collegiate finalists from the University of Mount Olive, NC State, and NC A&T State represented their Universities extremely well with the competition truly highlighting the strength and voice of North Carolina’s agriculture industry.” said Ervin, an agriculture education major. “This experience is definitely the capstone of my senior year at UMO, and I couldn’t have dreamed of a better senior year experience. I look forward to representing UMO and the state of North Carolina at the national discussion meet in Kansas City, Missouri in February 2016. ”
Other UMO competitors included agriculture education students Maryanna Bennett of Rocky Mount (Nash); Kesley Fleming of Pikeville (Wayne); Bridget Barnes of Fremont (Wayne); Sarah Harkey of Mt. Pleasant (Cabarrus); Andrew Sileo of Waxhaw (Union); Julia Chandler of Catawba (Catawba); Morgan Meadows of Coates (Harnett); Phillip Waters of Pinetown (Beaufort); Preston Brown of Zebulon (Johnston); Ali Holton of Tyro (Davidson); Stephen Cooke of Stedman (Cumberland); Ryan Berglund of Raleigh (Wake); Agriculture Production Systems majors – Kelsey Drake of Monroe (Union); Wendy Gutierrez of Dunn (Harnett) and agribusiness majors Alec Linton of Newton Grove (Sampson), Brandon Smith of Edenton (Chowan). 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.