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4-H takes agricultural science to heart

Extension is growing the next generation of agricultural leaders

Extension 4-H Science of Agriculture youth in Meeker County are developing a 3-D printed ear tag to monitor livestock using GPS technology. Watch a video about their experience.

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."

4-H clover logo

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

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