4-H takes agricultural science to heart
Extension is growing the next generation of agricultural leaders
Extension 4-H Science of Agriculture Challenge youth in Meeker County are developing a 3-D printed ear tag to monitor livestock using GPS technology. Watch a video about their experience.
When University of Minnesota Extension 4-H challenged Minnesota youth to come up with science-based solutions to agriculture-related issues, the youth took "science-based" to heart.
A Meeker County 4-H team, for example, developed a 3-D printed ear tag that will allow farmers to electronically track and monitor their livestock using GPS technology. "We thought it would be helpful to be able to monitor livestock from a phone or computer," says Andrew Massmann, age 16. "A family we know lives four hours away from one of their pastures." Their mentor is Erik Hildebrand, a biologist from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources who tracks Minnesota's moose population.
4-H Science of Agriculture Challenge teams work with adult mentors to identify their issue and develop solutions. They practice presenting their results at spring regional events before moving on to a June statewide event at the University of Minnesota.
Minnesota agriculture leaders are excited about the 4-H challenge, becoming expert mentors and providing financial contributions for grants and scholarships.
"Minnesota is facing a shortage of 'ag literate' professionals," says Adam Birr, Minnesota Corn Growers Association executive director. "This program gives kids a wonderful hands-on experience digging into issues facing agriculture. By working with local ag professionals, they also get exposed to possible future careers at businesses in their communities."
2016 partners, thank you!
Minnesota Corn Growers Association, AgStar, Pentair, American Crystal Sugar, Jennie-O Turkey, Rahr Corp., Minnesota Farm Bureau and Minnesota Farmers Union