The University of Mount Olive's Agricultural department hosted it's fifth annual AgFest where 1300 students from 64 different counties in North Carolina got to experience learning about the UMO Agriculture department, drone demonstrations, dance-off challenges, and even got to finish their day off at UMO with a concert from Johnny McGuire and Joe Nichols.
Students from all over were treated to several different events and stations yesterday at AgFest. FFA students got to learn about the admissions process to UMO in Southern Bank Auditorium and eventually were able to move on to learning about livestock in the newly renovated Rodgers Chapel in the heart of the University of Mount Olive campus.
Benchmark Tool & Supply out of Raleigh also came out and treated students with a drone demonstration. The students ate well yesterday, the original Piggly Wiggly and Got to be NC along with Bojangles coordinated and presented the food for the high schools as sponsors. There were several other local sponsors such as Hwy 55, Springer Farms, Bright Leaf, Jesse Jones, and Stevens Sausage Company.
AgFest is a tremendous benefit for the University of Mount Olive. The Agriculture Department is one of the biggest, if not the biggest on campus, and AgFest annually helps out with the growth and consistency of the department. "We want to give these kids a taste of what college is like and show them a good time," said Sandy Maddox who is the Director of the Luis G. Britt Agribusiness Department. "Over the last two years, each year almost 6% of our incoming students have attended AgFest before and that's a lot when that's the only on-campus recruiting that we do."
AgFest not only impacts the students, but the FFA teachers at the high schools leave with something every year as well. Arno Peterson from Lakewood High School spent his fourth year taking kids to AgFest yesterday. "I enjoy the fact that kids get to come to a university and get to learn about agriculture, but also what it's like to be on a college campus period," said Peterson. "My kids consistently say that they love coming, it's definitely a highlight for our school year, and it's also a big thing for Lakewood high school."
Later on in the night, Johnny McGuire, a band out of Nashville, Tennesse warmed the stage up for Joe Nichols. Both bands combined for a 2-hour concert and even after the show, students were able to do a meet and greet with Joe Nichols.
"Our Ag students are what makes this thing go; we're so proud of the hard work that they do and to have kids that we can trust to supervise thousands of kids throughout the day, it just says a lot about the heart of this department," said Maddox.