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Minnesota 4-H asks youth to solve ag issues in their community


Today, like never before, ag leaders are needed to creatively solve the ag and food challenges of worldwide population that is projected to double in the next 40 years. A survey by the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows a shortage of youth studying and pursuing careers in agriculture. To meet this critical need, Minnesota 4-H has developed a new program to ignite excitement and passion about agriculture professions and expand their preparedness to study agriculture in high school and college.

The 4-H Science of Agriculture Challenge asks teams of Minnesota youth to identify agriculture-related issues in their communities and collaborate with local ag experts to find science-based solutions. In June 2015, teams will present their results at a two-day event at the University of Minnesota, which will include judging presentations, workshops on interviewing and resume building, campus tours to explore agriculture and science resources at the University, and a challenge fair to share their work with agribusiness representatives.

Each youth team gets to explore the issue of their choosing such as agronomy, animal husbandry, soil science, ag business, rural finance, food science, engineering and more. Twenty teams across the state are currently registered for the challenge, identifying issues of food waste from farm to table, pollinator strips, effect of ag chemicals on water quality, insects as a food source, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and overwintering of bees in Minnesota.

"This challenge is designed to let youth drive the research and development of their issue and solution," said Josh Rice, Extension science of agriculture specialist. "Youth get to explore and build on what they are already interested in and passionate about. And the issues they're identifying already show an exciting range of topics and important areas to explore."

Volunteers to support the teams, as well as event sponsors, are still needed. You can learn more about the 4-H Science of Agriculture Challenge and how you can get involved by visiting our website or by contacting Josh Rice at jerice@umn.edu or 612-624-8415.

by Wendy Huckaby
Communications Manager
Minnesota 4-H

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