Taylor Strelow

Five teams of youth from across Minnesota recently met online to share their research findings for the University of Minnesota 4-H Science of Agriculture Challenge. After months of data collection, project development, critical community and industry feedback and careful mentoring, these young people presented their findings to judges who assessed both the process and product of their work.

The teams hailed from four Minnesota counties, each addressing an agriculture issue their local community is experiencing.

• Big Stone County: Pork Production Amidst COVID-19

• Le Sueur County: Teaching Youth About Agriculture Careers

• Meeker County: Organic Rabbit Cakes

• Mower County: Escherichia Coli in Water Runoff

• Mower County: Food Insecurity

The 4-H Science of Agriculture Challenge is a hands-on learning experience to inspire Minnesota youth. Teams of two to five participants in grades 6-12 work with volunteer coaches and mentors to identify agriculture-related issues in their communities and develop and share solutions. Teams participate in a state event to present their projects, share their learning experiences, learn about post-secondary educational opportunities, and more.

First place in the 2020 4-H Science of Agriculture Challenge went to the Le Sueur County Beyond the Farm team. The team of Sydney and Addison Mitchell developed a project called “Teaching Youth About Agriculture Careers”. They created videos and lesson plans to teach middle and high school aged youth about careers in agriculture and each received a $1,000 scholarship to support their post-secondary educational goals.

Second place went to 4-H’ers from Big Stone County with a project based on the effect of COVID-19 on pork production. Third place went to Meeker County 4-H’ers for their project focused on creating an organic rabbit cake product to address rabbit health and pellet shortage.

Scholarships were sponsored by the Minnesota Corn Growers Association.

Taylor Strelow, Le Sueur County 4-H Extension Educator, strel039@umn.edu.

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