ALABAMA A&M UNIVERSITY, Ala. — Alabama was the spotlight state at the 2023 Sunbelt Ag Expo held Oct. 17-19 in Moultrie, Georgia. Staff from the Alabama Cooperative Extension System were there to support their home state. Seventeen members from Alabama Extension at Alabama A&M University (AAMU) promoted Urban Extension programs, including Interim 1890 Administrator Majed Dweik, Associate Director Jennifer Wells-Marshall and Assistant Director Kimberly Sinclair-Holmes. Wells-Marshall, along with Extension Specialist Rudy Pacumbaba and Urban Regional Agent Marcus Garner, were also among the friendly volunteers at the Sweet Grown Alabama spotlight state exhibit barn.
Among an estimated crowd of 10,000 people over the three-day period, more than 2,000 participants stopped to pick up information and giveaways at two AAMU Extension locations. The Mobile Nutrition Lab was a popular exhibit for younger audiences. In addition, staff shared information about agricultural programs offered at AAMU.
“The Sunbelt Ag Expo is a great opportunity for land-grant universities to educate the next generation about Extension programs, farming and other agricultural careers,” said Dweik, who also serves as the vice president of research and economic development at AAMU.
About the Expo
The Sunbelt Ag Expo is one of the largest agricultural trade shows in the nation. Exhibitors and attendees wear comfortable shoes to walk Spence Field — 100 acres of paved and grassy space situated next to a 530-acre working research farm in Moultrie. The Expo features trade and educational exhibits, merchandise and food vendors and interactive demonstrations the whole family can enjoy.
The dominant participants of the Sunbelt Ag Expo reflect the current demographics of farmers in the United States today – white males over the age of 50. USDA programs, such as the 2501 Program, are striving to change those odds by targeting underserved farmers, including women and military veterans. Events like the Sunbelt Ag Expo can also serve to foster greater interest in agriculture among younger and more diverse populations.