It is harvest time for peanut farmers, and 20 students from the Mount Olive College AGE 211 Crop Science class recently visited the award winning peanut operation of Jart and Cece Hudson of Turkey. Mr. Hudson, who recently received the Farm Press Peanut Profitability Award for the Upper Southeast States, talked with the students and actually toured them through all aspects of the peanut harvesting process from the digging, to the harvesting, to the drying, to the processing plant.
“This trip was a wonderful and informative way to see the world of agriculture at work,” said Luke Hill, a sophomore agriculture education major from Elizabethtown. “In a ‘nutshell’, it was a way to see all of the intensive work that goes into food production.”
Bridgett Barnes, a sophomore agriculture education major from Fremont, said, “I have seen farmers dig peanuts from a distance, but to actually see it up close and get to see the whole process that one peanut has to go through was pretty awesome. Our tour guide, Mr. Hudson, was wonderful and taught us a lot about the business and what it takes to be a peanut farmer. I enjoyed the trip very much and I hope to one day take my future classes on a very similar trip.”
In commenting about the experience, Stephen Edwards, assistant professor of agriculture education at Mount Olive College, said, “Most of our students enrolled in crop science are pursuing degrees in agriculture, either agriculture education or agribusiness, and these lab based field trips give students awareness of the entire agriculture industry. Over 95 percent of our graduates are employed in the agriculture industry in eastern North Carolina. Although they will find employment in one area of agriculture, they need to have familiarity with the entire industry.”
According to Edwards, the overall goal of the class is to introduce the crop side of the agricultural industry in North Carolina. “Students know some parts of agriculture, but most of them do not realize how diverse the agriculture industry is in North Carolina,” he said. “North Carolina is the 3rd most diverse state in agriculture production in the United States. Because Mount Olive College is located in the heart of the North Carolina agriculture industry, we are able to design the class where students can witness the diversity of the industry during the length of a laboratory period.”
Students also learned from Hudson farms that diversification is the key to any successful farming operation. Hudson Farms is proof positive that farmers should be willing to try out new methods, new crops and new value-added products. Hudson is a fourth generation farmer. He now grows more than 1,000 acres of peanuts, is co-owner of a peanut buying point in Warsaw, NC, and his farming operation includes large acreages of tobacco, corn, and wheat, plus a hog finishing operation.
Mount Olive College is a private institution rooted in the liberal arts tradition with defining Christian values. The college, sponsored by the Convention of Original Free Will Baptists, has locations in Mount Olive, New Bern, Wilmington, Goldsboro, Research Triangle Park, Washington and Jacksonville. For more information, visit www.moc.edu.