Eight Mount Olive College students studying agriculture education and agribusiness recently attended the American Farm Bureau Young Farmer and Rancher Conference in Phoenix, Arizona. The MOC students traveled to Phoenix to meet with other Young Farmers and Ranchers, ages 18-35, from across the nation to discuss the future of the agriculture industry. The group attended workshops that focused on various agricultural topics including being advocates for the agriculture industry; developing resources for educating elementary age students about agriculture; and understanding how policy impacts agriculture. Students were also given the opportunity to attend the national level Collegiate Discussion Meet competition. Many of the students traveling to Phoenix were competitors at the regional and state levels of Discussion Meet competition.
“Having the chance to travel to Phoenix and see what agriculture is like in other areas of the United States is important to those of us seeking careers in the agriculture field. However, none of us could have had this opportunity without the support of our county Farm Bureau Offices. We are fortunate to have the support of the Farm Bureau boards in each of our counties,” stated Brian Carter, a senior in agriculture education from Clinton and chairman of Mount Olive College’s Young Farmer and Rancher Committee.
While in Phoenix, the NC Farm Bureau Federation hosted a dinner which allowed collegiate members and young farmers from across North Carolina to interact the NC State Farm Bureau Board, including President of North Carolina Farm Bureau Mr. Larry Wooten.
“This entire trip was a unique experience for so many of us,” stated David Thomas, a junior in agribusiness from Person County. “Several students had never flown before and although we saw things like cattle operations and feed mills that we have here in NC, they are managed differently in other areas of the country and that is always interesting to see.”
Among the agribusinesses visited by Mount Olive College students were a newly constructed feed mill, a candy company that has been a mainstay in Arizona, a cattle operation and a multi-million dollar wholesale nursery. The landscape of the Arizona countryside also made students recognize the importance of irrigation and water resources to the agriculture industry in this area of the US.
“These opportunities, made possible with the support of Farm Bureau, allow students to become involved in and aware of the ever-changing challenges facing the agriculture industry and how they can equip themselves to face those challenges as they enter the field as professionals,” stated Dr. Sandy Maddox, Collegiate Young Farmer and Rancher advisor.
Mount Olive College is a private institution rooted in the liberal arts tradition with defining Christian values. The College, sponsored by the Convention of Original Free Will Baptists, has locations in Mount Olive, New Bern, Wilmington, Goldsboro, Research Triangle Park, Washington and Jacksonville. For more information, visit http://www.moc.edu