The camp provides information, information and intrigue about the world of agriculture
MOUNT OLIVE — Several high school FFA members and agriculture teachers from across North Carolina recently participated in a supervised agricultural experience (SAE) camp at Mount Olive University. Participants came from as far north as Tarboro, as far south as Fayetteville, as far east as Plymouth and New Bern, and as far west as Yadkinville for the one week experience. Campers visited farms, participated in community outreach projects, learned about SAE project opportunities, and experienced college life during overnight camp.
“Service is an integral part of FFA,” said Edward Olive, director of the Lois G. Britt Agribusiness Center at UMO. “In fact, the last line of the FFA’s motto is ‘live to serve’. Service is a big part of what these participants did this week.
The group volunteered with Habitat for Humanity in Goldsboro where they helped with a new home building project. They gleaned 7,840 pounds of cabbage with the Society of Saint Andrew, which was donated to Make a Difference Food Pantry at Mount Olive. They also volunteered at Neuse Cliffs State Park, clearing trails and helping with other projects.
To help inspire the students with their SAE project ideas and diversification, they visited several farms and farm businesses throughout the week where they learned about new technologies, agritourism and research. Attendees heard presentations on financial planning, resume writing, interview skills, business etiquette, farm communication, and more.
Never failing to end each day on a high, campers took part in a number of recreational activities including a rodeo, amusement park activities, a visit to the Simply Natural Creamery and a Downs baseball game. East Wood Ducks.
“I had so much fun at this camp,” said Dalton Overby, a student at North Johnston High School in Kenly, North Carolina. “We visited many farms and learned a lot about SAE.
Sara Zagada Gonzalez, of Cary High School in Wake County, said the highlight of the week for her was the rodeo. “I especially enjoyed watching the barrel race,” she said. “I also enjoyed learning about agriculture, which is more than just buying food from the grocery store. Farming is about business, family history, technology, and more.
Alexa Bishop, a rising junior from Pine Forest High School in Cumberland County, said, “The highlight of the week for me was the rodeo and watermelon tasting at the Clinton Research Station.”
Callie Shackelford, a sophomore at South Lenoir High School in Kinston, said: “My favorite part of the week was meeting all the people and learning about farming.”
Lyndy Boggs, UMO 2021 alumnus and first-time agriculture teacher at Cary High School, said, “I really enjoyed touring the many farms and seeing the enthusiasm of the students as they they were learning and exploring more about the agricultural industry.
“This opportunity would not be possible without the support and participation of agricultural educators,” said Dr. Sandy Maddox, Dean of UMO’s School of Agriculture and Biological Sciences. “It’s exciting to see our alumni continue to support us in all that we do and encourage their students to participate as well. This continues to grow our UMO family.
Edward Olive said, “FFA members across North Carolina are always looking for ways to expand their agricultural knowledge, learn more about agricultural careers, and gain experience in SAE. This camp offers incredible opportunities for all of this in one place. We are grateful to all of our partners who have opened their farms and businesses for tours and information sharing. We are especially grateful to the NC Tobacco Trust Fund Commission and the support of our elected officials who support the Trust Fund and do so much for our current and former tobaccos.
dependent communities. Many of our campers and FFA counselors come from these tobacco-dependent rural communities.
Olive said the camp is in its second round of three-year grants and plans are already underway for next year’s camp. “Stay tuned,” he said. “There’s always something new and exciting happening with UMO’s School of Agriculture and Biological Sciences.”
Mount Olive University is a private institution steeped in the liberal arts tradition with defining Christian values. The University is sponsored by the Convention of Original Free Will Baptists. For more information, visit www.umo.edu.