UMO Receives $180,000 for Agriculture Revitalization
MOUNT OLIVE - Representative Jimmy Dixon recently announced that $180,000 in state funding would be channeled to the University of Mount Olive through the Town of Mount Olive. The announcement was made to a small crowd of Town and University representatives under a large equipment shelter on the University's George R. Kornegay, Jr. Farm on the Donnie and Linda Lassiter Agricultural Campus.
“The money is coming through the Department of Commerce through Rural and Economic Development,” Dixon said. “It is actually revitalization funds and we are trying to revitalize agriculture. This money will support agricultural program development.”
Dixon went on to explain that the idea came to him after a group of UMO ag students spoke at a House Agriculture Committee session, of which Dixon is one of the chairmen.
"They blew us out of the water," he said. "These students represent a magnificent future in agriculture. The expertise they can bring is very promising.”
After the UMO student presentation, Dixon contacted Mount Olive Mayor Ray McDonald Sr. and Mayor Pro Tem Joe Scott to ask if the town would allow the money to come to the town and be directed to the University. It was agreed. The money will go toward construction of an 8,600-square-foot classroom/laboratory building on the University’s George R. Kornegay, Jr. Farm, located about seven miles southeast of Mount Olive on Garners Chapel Road.
Plans call for a standard metal building with a shop area, four classrooms, two laboratories, and offices. “Construction could start by December since the funding Dixon was able to secure must be spent by next October,” said Dr. Sandy Maddox, the University's Division Chair of Agriculture and Director of the Lois G. Britt Agribusiness Center.
Maddox said she hopes the building will be ready for students by the fall 2018 semester.
"It is going to offer us the opportunity to expand our degree program offerings," she said. "We now have a concentration in animal science, but we are looking forward to implementing an animal science degree and an agronomy degree.”
The farm and accompanying facilities will provide hands on learning experiences for students to better understand what production agriculture is all about.
“The intent is to also do some undergraduate research at the farm,” Maddox said. “I have already talked to some of the commodity groups that are interested in doing some research plots at the farm.”
According to Maddox, there will be up to seven acres of pasture for sheep and goats, and an animal handling area to manage them. Four acres will be devoted to horticulture and a commodity area. The plan is to manage the majority of the farm operations with student workers and for them to market all of the products that will be produced on the farm.
Maddox indicated that the $180,000 will not cover the complete cost of the project, which is still being calculated. “We are looking for other funding and at local agribusinesses to see if they would be willing to contribute to the project,” she added.
In his closing remarks Dixon referenced a statement he once heard. "You can count the seeds in an apple, but you cannot count the apples in a seed," he said. "So what we are doing here this morning, with this appropriation from the General Assembly, is hopefully continuing to plant the seeds that the Kornegay family, the University of Mount Olive and other people have started in this wonderful area of agriculture. I look forward to trying to count the apples from the seed that we are planting here today."
The University of Mount Olive is a private institution rooted in the liberal arts tradition with defining Christian values. The University, sponsored by the Convention of Original Free Will Baptists, has locations in Mount Olive, New Bern, Wilmington, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, Research Triangle Park, Washington, Jacksonville, and in Smithfield at Johnston Community College. For more information, visit www.umo.edu.
Back Row: (L-R) Mount Olive Mayor Ray McDonald, Sr., UMO Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. David Hines, UMO Student Chris Hicks, UMO Director of Agricultural Facilities Operations Tim Warren, UMO student Marion Smith, Jr. , and UMO Student James Johnson. Front Row: UMO Vice President for Enrollment Dr. Barbara Kornegay, UMO Students Brittany Daniel, Jordan Jackson, Janeice Leonard, Samantha Byrd, Division Chair for the UMO Department of Agriculture and Director of the Lois G. Agribusiness Center Dr. Sandy Maddox, Representative Jimmy Dixon and Mount Olive Mayor Pro-Tem Joe Scott.
Representative Jimmy Dixon talks to a group of University of Mount Olive ag students at a gathering where Dixon made an announcement that the University would be receiving $180,000 in state funding for agricultural program development.
(L-R) Foreground: Representative Jimmy Dixon, Mount Olive Mayor Ray McDonald, Sr., Division Chair for the UMO Department of Agriculture and Director of the Lois G. Agribusiness Center Dr. Sandy Maddox review plans for the new 8,600-square-foot classroom/laboratory building that will be constructed on the University’s George R. Kornegay, Jr. Farm, located about seven miles southeast of Mount Olive on Garners Chapel Road. Mount Olive Mayor Pro-Tem Joe Scott and UMO Director of Agricultural Facilities Operations Tim Warren are pictured talking in the background.