SC State’s Agribusiness Summer Camp attracts South Carolina High School Students

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

AgribusinessWhat is Agribusiness? What are the career opportunities in the Agribusiness industry? These and other questions about the food and fiber industry were answered during the Agribusiness Summer Camp, sponsored by the Department of Accounting, Agribusiness and Economics on Monday, June 15-19, 2009.

Twenty-two high school juniors and seniors representing five area high schools attended the Camp. The high schools that were represented, during the camp were Denmark-Olar, Denmark, S.C., Lake Marion, Lake Marion, S.C. W.J. Keenan, in Columbia, S.C., Orangeburg-Wilkinson, in Orangeburg, S.C. and Scott’s Branch, in Summerton, S.C. The objectives of the Camp were to attract high school students to SC State’s agribusiness program by introducing them to the broad scope of the food and fiber industry and its highly rewarding careers, and to also introduce entrepreneurial opportunities in the food and fiber industry by engaging them in an experiential activity.

During the week, through various hands-on and interactive activities, students learned about the nature of agribusiness, national and international dimensions of agribusiness, the land grant system, career opportunities in agribusiness, how to determine supply and demand for products and export/import activities in agribusiness.
In addition, representatives from the University’s Student Success and Retention Program, Office of Admissions and Financial Aid made presentations about the process of getting admitted to SC State and then becoming a successful student.

A key component of the Agribusiness Camp was the entrepreneurship project, which involved making familiar products related to agribusiness. Each high school selected one product; (soap, soy candles, perfume, lipstick and chocolate candy) to produce and learn its origin and relationship as a product or byproduct of the agribusiness industry. Using supplies provided, they produced the product, packaged it for sale, determined the costs and selling price, designed posters and made a final presentation to a team of judges who evaluated their finished product, packaging and presentation. Denmark-Olar, won first place for their chocolate candy product; Scott’s Branch, won second place for their soap product; Keenan, won third place for their perfume product; Lake Marion, won fourth place for their soy candles product; and Orangeburg-Wilkinson, won fifth place for their lipstick product.

Dr. Suresh Londhe, project director and agribusiness recruitment coordinator, said that “judging from students’ reactions and their enthusiastic involvement, the summer camp was a success. During the program evaluation, most of the students rated the camp as excellent.”

Some of the student comments were: “interesting”, “learned a lot about agribusiness that I did not know before”, “the experience was overwhelming”, “the camp should have been longer”, “met new people”, “opened my eyes to hidden opportunities”, etc.”

Dr. Barbara Adams, chairperson of the Department of Accounting, Agribusiness and Economics, said “the camp was successful in terms of generating an interest in the field of agribusiness. At least four camp participants are expected to enroll in the agribusiness program at SC State in fall 2009.”

The Agribusiness Summer Camp was funded by an 1890 Capacity Building Grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to recruit and train underrepresented minorities for careers in agribusiness.

For further information about the agribusiness program, contact Dr. Barbara Adams at 536-8121 or Dr. Haile Selassie at 536-8456.