Agricultural leaders from across Georgia had an opportunity to discuss the future of the state’s largest industry with UGA President Jere W. Morehead during the Sunbelt Agricultural Expo in Moultrie on Tuesday, Oct. 17.
“I look forward to the Sunbelt Expo every year,” Morehead said. “Speaking with agricultural leaders from across the state always serves as a constant reminder of the critical role the University of Georgia plays in supporting our state’s most important industry.”
Morehead, who has attended the expo every year since he became UGA president in 2013, visited the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences building, where he spoke with CAES ambassadors and met other key agricultural leaders from across the Southeast. He also delivered remarks at a “listening session” hosted by members of the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture and encouraged policymakers to continue to look to UGA for information to make policy decisions on important agricultural matters.
CAES educates about 2,000 students every year and has more than 11,000 alumni living in Georgia. The college contributes to the state’s food, fiber and horticultural sectors through research conducted at various research stations and farms statewide.
UGA Extension serves Georgians in all 159 counties through local offices and reaches 180,000 elementary, middle and high school students through the Georgia 4-H Youth Development program.
“Many Georgians, especially young people, may not be aware of the total impact that UGA CAES faculty and staff have on the economy and in their lives,” said CAES Dean Sam Pardue. “Sunbelt Expo is a perfect opportunity to showcase our great partnerships as well as our educational programs across the state that are available to everyone.”
The expo is one of many events where CAES ambassadors serve as hosts and provide information for guests. On Wednesday, Oct. 18, middle and high school students from across the Southeast flock to the expo for student day. Many visit the CAES building to learn more about agriculture and opportunities offered at CAES.
“The Sunbelt Expo is one of the largest agricultural events every year, and it’s literally held in our backyard. This is a great chance to showcase our college and educate high school students about the degree programs offered on our UGA campus in Tifton,” said Katie Murray, student recruiter for the UGA-Tifton campus. “This is an excellent opportunity to recruit students who aspire to a career in agriculture.”
At the expo, UGA Extension specialists also lead daily seminars on topics like beef cattle management, forages, dairy, aquaculture and poultry. There also are field demonstrations at the 600-acre, on-site, working research farm. Visitors can see peanut digging and cotton, peanut, soybean and hay harvesting.
“We work very closely with the CAES researchers on a daily basis on the Darrell Williams Research Farm on various row crop and forage studies. During show time, these researchers, along with the livestock specialists, participate in our demos and seminars. It is all tied together with the CAES exhibits in their permanent exhibit building. We appreciate our great relationship with CAES as we work together to make life better on the farm,” said Chip Blalock, executive director of the expo.