Hot topics and a hot breakfast lured Georgians to Fort Valley State University's Pettigrew Center April 23. More than 200 guests came to partake in the 31st annual Ham and Egg Breakfast.
The traditional, southern-style breakfast serves as a forum for legislators and their constituents to address concerns in agriculture and Georgia's economy. Topics discussed included food safety, increasing food production and water policy.
"This event keeps us tied to agriculture which is the number-one economic entity in the state," said state Sen. Ross Tolleson. The Perry native assured residents that through his appointment as chairman of the Georgia Natural Resources and Environment Committee, he is working to improve water policy and energy resources for the state.
After discussion, attendees and officials participated in an open-format, question-and-answer session. Also attendees toured the Ham and Egg Museum. The museum showcased agricultural artifacts and historical pieces used during the Ham and Egg Show more than 90 years ago.
First time attendee Michelle Sands said she came to the breakfast to hear the concerns of residents, so she can better serve her area through Congressmen Bishop's office. "This was a great opportunity to interface with elected officials and meet the leadership of FVSU," said Sands, field representative for Congressmen Sanford Bishop.
Dr. Mark Latimore Jr., FVSU's interim vice president for land grant affairs, said each year the breakfast draws different legislators helping to publicize FVSU's Cooperative Extension Program and College of Agriculture. He said the event continues to gain popularity which keeps FVSU on the mind of legislators.
The first Ham and Egg show was initiated by Otis Samuel O'Neal 90 years ago to help farmers improve egg and meat production quality and preservation techniques. In 1982, Dr. Glenwood Hill, a retired program leader of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Unit for FVSU's Cooperative Extension Program, revived the breakfast.