The Minnesota 4-H Science of Agriculture Challenge is a new youth development program that focuses on engaging youth in hands-on agriculture exploration while increasing agricultural literacy, enhancing STEM skills, and educating youth about career opportunities that exist within agricultural sciences. 4-H members identify an agricultural issue within their community and work with a business and industry mentor to apply STEM concepts to develop a potential solution. Teams share their research and results in their communities and at the state contest.
The inaugural Science of Agriculture event was held June 17-19, of 2015 with 12 teams participating. There were a total of 44 youth participants with an average age of 15 years old. Twenty five (57%) of the participants were female and 19 (43%) were male. The youth were asked to complete a post event survey to determine the exposure to agriculture they experienced during the program and there interest in pursuing an agricultural career at the programs completion. The final survey response rate was 100% (N=44). Forty youth (92%) indicated that they had met with an agriculture community leader. Thirty nine youth (89%) planned to pursue a career in agriculture science and 35 youth (79%) wanted to study agriculture in college.
The Minnesota 4-H Science of Agriculture Challenge has the potential to fill the hole that currently exists in the agricultural career pipeline while teaching youth that their participation in 4-H can lead them to college and/or trade school and into a viable career in agricultural sciences.
Rice, Joshua; Davis, Sharon; Rugg, Brad; Freeman, Dorothy; Grant, Samantha; Woeste, Marcia; Kostick, Renee; Ignaszewski, Tracy; Ward, Ann Marie.
Engaging Youth in Agriculture Career Exploration: 4-H Science of Agriculture Challenge.
University of Minnesota Extension.
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