4-H Science of Ag helps pave way to careers for youth
6/22/2015 12:02:00 PM
ST. PAUL, Minn. (6/22/2015)—The first-ever 4-H Science of Agriculture Challenge brought 12 teams of youth from across the state to the University of Minnesota last week to present their research on important agricultural issues, including soil preservation, public opinion on genetically modified organisms, food waste and more. The Science of Agriculture program is the first of its kind in the United States. It's designed to help build the next future agricultural workforce through hands-on learning and experiences. Over the last nine months, youth have worked with adult mentors and agricultural experts to identify issues and research potential solutions. At the end of the two-day event at the University's St. Paul campus, awards were presented to three teams earning highest marks:
First place—Meeker County 4-H Hay Waste Team: Kayla Kutzke, Ryan Peterson and Daniel Williamson. The team researched, designed, built and tested a feed bunk to reduce hay waste of beef cattle.
Second place—Washington County 4-H Insects as Food Source Team: Serenna Svanoe, Theo Svanoe, Chloe Brey. The team researched insects as sustainable source of protein for humans and animals, and cultural attitudes, methods and barriers to production and consumption in western nations.
Third place—Le Sueur County 4-H Biodiesel Team: Brian Prchal, Anna Prchal, Tyler Fromm. The team researched and compared the efficiency and environmental impact of conventional diesel, ethanol, kerosene and 100 percent biodiesel made by team, and tested temperature, content and particulate matter.
The top three teams were awarded scholarships toward use in any accredited university, college or trade school. First place team members received $1,000 each, second place received $750 each and third place received $500 each.
"We face a shortage of ag-literate professionals.The United States Department of Agriculture reports that between 2015 and 2020 alone, there will be about 57,900 jobs annually for graduates with bachelor's or higher degrees in food, agriculture, renewable natural resources or the environment," said Josh Rice, the University of Minnesota Extension specialist who leads the program. "The 4-H Science of Agriculture Challenge was developed to expose youth to the wide variety of ag-related issues that they can have a role in solving today and in the future."
The 4-H Science of Agriculture Challenge sponsors were the Minnesota Corn Growers Association, Minnesota Farm Bureau, AgStar Financial Services and the Minnesota Soybean Research Council. Judges were Robin Kopel, vice-president of human resources, Jennie-O Turkey Store; Mark Hamerlinck, senior communications director, Minnesota Corn Growers Association; Adam Birr, chief executive officer, Minnesota Corn Growers Association; Ruth Meirick, director, Minnesota Farm Bureau Foundation; and Amy Smith, assistant professor of agriculture education, University of Minnesota.
The conference is designed for producers to focus on practical applications available as precision dairy technology grows.
"Precision dairy describes several areas of innovation on dairy farms. The thing all of the various new tools have in common is that they increase efficiency in milk production," said Marcia Endres, University of Minnesota Extension Dairy Scientist and conference co-chair. Technologies include robotic milkers, individual cow sensors, automated calf feeders and inline parlor sampling.
The event is co-hosted by University of Minnesota Extension and the University of Kentucky. The program includes showcase sessions for producers and industry updates. Three plenary sessions on advances in precision dairy will be presented:
An update on experiences and developments in The Netherlands with Henk Hogeveen of Wageningen and Utrecht universities.
Understanding cow sensors, with Jeffrey Bewley of the University of Kentucky; and
Factors that influence success in robotic milking and automated feeder systems with Endres.
The trade show offers the latest in precision technologies and equipment; industry-sponsored speakers will present on a variety of topics. Producers from the United States and Canada will share their experiences, offering virtual tours of their farms and use of precision. Registration information is available on the conference website.
VIDEO: 4-H Science of Agriculture Challenge - Bee team
6/5/2015 9:52:00 AM
ST. PAUL, MN (6/5/2015) --The 4-H Bee Team is one of a dozen 4-H Science of Agriculture Challenge teams across Minnesota working with local experts to identify issues in their communities and develop science-based solutions. University of Minnesota Extension's 4-H has developed the first program of its kind in the country to ignite excitement about agriculture, increase ag science literacy, and expand the pipeline of youth pursing agriculture-related careers.
VIDEO: 4-H Science of Agriculture Challenge - Biodiesel team
5/21/2015 8:20:00 AM
ST. PAUL, MN (5/21/2015) —The 4-H Topsoil Team is one of a dozen 4-H Science of Agriculture Challenge teams across Minnesota working with local experts to identify issues in their communities and develop science-based solutions. University of Minnesota Extension's 4-H has developed the first program of its kind in the country to ignite excitement about agriculture, increase ag science literacy, and expand the pipeline of youth pursing agriculture-related careers.