How can cattle farmers reduce hay loss from ring feeders? What can be done about bees overwintering in Minnesota? What’s the next step in using insects as human food? What are the benefits of biofuels?
These were a few of the questions addressed by 12 youth teams who participated in the 2015 4-H Science of Agriculture Challenge, held June 17-19 at the University of Minnesota.The challenge was an opportunity for youth teams to find solutions to real agriculture challenges in their communities.
The Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) supported the first-annual challenge. MCGA Executive Director Adam Birr and Communications Director Mark Hamerlinck were judges and public relations manager Adam Czech participated in an ag career fair on the challenge’s final day.
The winning team came from Meeker County and worked on a project that cut the amount of hay lost when cattle use ring feeders in half. The team of Kayla Kutze, Ryan Peterson and Daniel Williamson (coached by Christa Williamson) redesigned a ring feeder to create “V” openings that restrict the head movement of feeding animals.
You can read more about their project here.
Not only was the challenge an opportunity for 4-Hers to address real-world ag problems, it was another tool to develop the next generation of leaders in agriculture.
“That’s a big reason why MCGA supported the Science of Agriculture Challenge,” Birr said. “It’s developing critical and scientific thinking skills, while also mixing in a valuable leadership component.”