The Ag. Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT) held their first monthly speaker series event Jan. 30, at the ABAC Chapel. The guest speaker this month was Executive Director of the Sunbelt Ag. Expo, Chip Blalock.
In 1987, Blalock earned a Bachelors of Science in Agriculture from the University of Georgia as an Animal Science major. He served as the extension agent for Colquitt and Dooly County from 1987 through 1990. After working as the sales manager at the Moultrie Farm Center until 1997, Blalock began his career at the Sunbelt Ag. Expo.
The expo gives a platform to equipment dealers in the farming industry to showcase new technology to large acreage production farmers and weekend lifestyle farmers. The Expo is known as, “North America’s Premier Farm Show,” and hosts approximately 1200 exhibitors at the three-day event in Oct. annually.
ABAC has a long history with the Sunbelt Ag. Expo: in 1964 the event took place at ABAC campus as “Dealer Days,” put on by the Ag. Engineering Technology AET Club. The event eventually grew off campus and developed into the massive exposition it is today.
“The Expo continues with the same purpose that it started with. Connect the equipment dealers with the consumers and provide an environment for students and employers to network,” said Blalock. “Our 1200 plus exhibitors bring together the largest conglomeration of agricultural technology that the industry has to offer. The success of the expo is built upon creating an environment where our attendees ultimately do business with our exhibitors.”
ABAC students are still a big part in the success of the Sunbelt Ag. Expo. Students from the agriculture communications program like Lauren Lindler have interned for the Expo to work social media and public relations for the event. Other clubs like the Ag. Business Club also participates with the Expo by volunteering as event staff.
“I’m one of the most blessed people alive,” said Blalock. “Because I don’t have a job, I have a passion. I wake up every morning ready to go to work, prepared to make a difference in agriculture.”
As an animal science major, Blalock never envisioned himself in the position he is in now. He feels that after working as the chairman of the Great Southland Stampede Rodeo in 1987, it prepared him for his role at the Expo.
He reminded students how important the interview process is when applying for jobs.
“You can never be too prepared to answer questions in an interview,” said Blalock. “If you don’t know the answer to a question, tell them that you don’t know right now, but will find out and get back to them.”
Blalock believes every day is a great day to make a good impression on somebody.
“It’s good to know people and it’s good to be smart, but it’s not necessarily who or what you know, but who knows you,” he said.