By DEBI MCLENDON
Farm Press Intern
Two of the primary goals for the Sunbelt Ag Expo are agricultural research and education. Sunbelt Expo “prides itself on working with land-grant universities and colleges across the southeast,” said Chip Blalock, executive director of Sunbelt Expo.
Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, the University of Florida,
Auburn University, Clemson University, Fort Valley State University,
and the University of Georgia all have permanent exhibits at the
Expo. Sunbelt’s partnership with the universities brings the latest
developments in agriculture to the forefront.
Thirty miles away at the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences campus in Tifton, Ga., specialists are conducting
research on the latest in controlling Palmer amaranth, soil fertility,
seed varieties, crop protection, irrigation and precision ag, and many
of those specialists also conduct replicated research trials on the Darrell Williams Research Farm at Expo.
University specialists from across the Southeast participate in
Sunbelt’s livestock demos and seminars, too. The presence of the
universities at the Expo truly demonstrates and validates the Sunbelt
Expo’s educational mission, Blalock said.
Clemson’s Expo exhibit “Planning Innovation and Growing Diversity” focuses on South Carolina’s No. 1 industry: agriculture. With
numerous demonstrations, simulations and more, Brian Callahan,
director of field operations for Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service, says their goal is “that everyone who visits the South
Carolina Exhibit has an enjoyable and educational experience” walking away with a better “understanding of what sets our state apart
Matthew Burns will have a team of several Extension agents to
assist from shooting sports to simulating calving dystocia. South
Carolina Department of Agriculture will have stations for tasting an
assortment of delicious foods.
FVSU 39 YEARS AT EXPO
Thirty-nine years marks Fort Valley State University’s participation
at Sunbelt, which gives them many opportunities to showcase
programs in the College of Ag, Family Sciences and Technology on a
regional as well as a national scale.
According to Marquinta Gonzalaz, the director of agricultural
communications and publications designer at FVSU, a fiberglass
milking goat will be at their Morton Building exhibit. Guests will
be treated with famous goat products such as BBQ, burgers, jerky,
soap, cheese, and ice cream.
FVSU recognizes Ag Appreciation Day at Sunbelt Expo with
games such as Plinko, Corn Hole Toss and Ag Trivia with prizes to be
won! Be sure to get photos with their Wildcat mascot. The University
of Georgia will be showcase what it’s like to be in the “Life of an Ag
Dawg” with a life sized game board that takes participants through
exciting learning opportunities. Research, internships, study abroad,
clubs, service, and leadership are new hands on experiences that
the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences have to
offer. Starting this fall, students are required to “fulfill a credit
towards one of these fantastic experiences”, says Carla Wood,
director of conferencing and special events.
Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College’s “Make ABAC Your
College Destination” exhibit will offer live music. The ABAC Expo
exhibit will highlight the many bachelor’s degrees, ranging from
agriculture to horticulture to natural resources. Students, faculty,
staff, and administrators from ABAC will greet visitors as they
enter the exhibit through the front porch. Interactive games will
allow guests to learn more about the college. Copies of ABAC
yearbooks will be available so that alumni can thumb through the
pages of days gone by. Talented ABAC students will also provide
entertainment for Expo visitors. he Georgia Museum of Agriculture
and Historic Village became a part of the ABAC campus in 2010.
A special part of the ABAC building at the Expo will be devoted to
cooking on a wood-burning stove, blacksmith demonstrations, and
the Country Store on wheels.
University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
exhibit will be “Florida’s Animal Agriculture.” Mark Mauldin, UF
Extension agent, says they will have five different interactive
displays at Florida’s building. Extension professionals will provide
assistance and answer questions regarding equine industries,
4-H livestock programs, rural landscapes and pastures, and tasty
Auburn University’s College of Agriculture will team up with
Alabama Cooperative Extension System to highlight several major
areas of agriculture including gardening, bees, and pollination.
Communications specialist Paul Hollis says they will “showcase how
research, education, and Extension are being used to improve and
protect the health and wellbeing of the citizens of Alabama, the
nation and the world.” Showcasing “We Grow Alabama,” they will
address the importance of economic development, unmanned
aerial systems in agriculture and agronomy.
Before leaving, guests should visit South Georgia Regional
Technical College’s exhibit to see what it would be like to partner
up with regional John Deere dealers in hands-on class room and
laboratory training. David Finely will be heading up the recruitment
process at the Expo.
At the Thomas University’s “Be You at TU” exhibit, recruiters will
answer questions future students have about their unique program.
Freebies such as pens, candy, water bottles and Frisbees will be
available along with free applications and info cards.
The Georgia Department of Education has partnered with USDA
to promote the “Farm to School” program and Georgia Grown. There
will be giveaways so consumers can learn more about the people
who feed our children.
The Southern Regional’s exciting ongoing interactive display
will showcase the mobile RAMP (Remote Automation Management
Project) Lab. According to Cole Posey, director of marketing at
Southern Regional Technical College, “RAMP is an instructional
delivery method by which students can receive support and
competency training from a remote location.” There will be
representatives around to demonstrate the unit, but visitors are
encouraged to see RAMP in action.
Colleges and universities spotlight
educational and fun aspects of Expo