UGA President visits 40th annual Sunbelt Ag Expo

- Clint Thompson, UGA CAES

University of Georgia President Jere W. Morehead discussed the future of Georgia agriculture with industry leaders at the 40th annual Sunbelt Agricultural Expo in Moultrie, Georgia, 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 becoming UGA president in 2013, visited the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) building, where he spoke with CAES Ambassadors and met Southeastern agricultural leaders. He also delivered remarks at a listening session hosted by U.S. House Committee on Agriculture members, and he encouraged policymakers to continue looking to UGA as a source for data to inform agricultural policy.

CAES contributes to Georgia's food, fiber and horticultural sectors through research conducted at various experiment stations, research and education centers, and farms statewide. The college has an annual student population of about 2,000 and more than 11,000 alumni living in Georgia. 

UGA Cooperative Extension serves Georgians in all of the state's 159 counties through local Extension 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 and our educational programs across the state that are available to everyone.”

At the expo, UGA Extension specialists lead daily seminars on topics like beef cattle management, forages, dairying, aquaculture and poultry. There are also field demonstrations at the 600-acre, on-site working research farm. Visitors can see peanuts being dug and cotton, peanuts, soybeans and hay being harvested.

“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.

The expo is one of many events where CAES Ambassadors — CAES students selected to aid in college recruitment efforts and to represent the college — serve as hosts and provide information to guests. On Wednesday, Oct. 18, Southeastern middle and high school students flocked to the expo for the event's Student Day. Many visited the college's building to learn more about agriculture and CAES opportunities.

“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.” 

For more information, visit

(Clint Thompson is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences based in Tifton.)