2nd annual Agriculture & Food Science Exploration Day a success

14 July 2023

The second annual Agriculture & Food Science Exploration Day (AFSE) has been labeled a success.

Agriculture and food science technology is one of the leading industries in the United States and encouraging students to find their own pathways towards feeding, fueling, and clothing the world is an ongoing pursuit of agricultural education. 

AFSE Day was developed in 2022 as a partnership between Riverland Community College and Mower County 4-H Extension to educate area high school students about what it means to work in agriculture and food science technology. 

“The idea for Ag & Food Science Exploration Day was to excite our youth about all the opportunities they can have in Ag & Food Science,” said Adam Stevemer of the Mower County 4-H Extension Office. “While the event is designed to be a quick hands-on exploration day, we hope students can find one topic that excites and motivates them towards a future study and even career in an agriculture or food science field,” 

Held on Wednesday, June 28, the participants took part in various sessions with topics including plant science, animal health, food product development and food safety, developing leadership skills, and STEM-related technologies. 

The students learned about agronomy by participating in a variety of crop scouting activities with Nathan Augustine and Dave Vaughan of Northern Country Cooperative at a local corn and soybean yield trial plot near Adam. They also learned about animal nutrition and animal health during a visit to Read’s Brown Swiss dairy farm. 

“It was fascinating to see the students get energized about using iPads and computers as they walked throughout the field learning how to perform stand counts of corn plants,” said co–coordinator Nick Schiltz.. ”Students were excited to learn how to properly identify the growth stages of corn and soybean plants. Once the students were able to learn these basic skills, we were able to discuss weed, insect, and disease control that agronomists use on a daily basis.” 

AFSE Day students were coached on developing and honing their leadership skills by Minnesota 4-H state ambassadors, who helped students develop voice, character, and expression that they can use in any field of study and career. 

The Minnesota State Center of Excellence in Agriculture brought the Technology Trailer to showcase various STEM technologies and tools that are used today in the fields of environmental science, soil science, and even plant diagnostic health. 

Students ended the day by touring Hormel’s Chemistry and Microbiology labs and learned about the product design process as well as the history Hormel Foods, what it takes to work in the chemistry side of food science, and all of the important steps in ensuring that food safety is ensured when working with creating and distributing food products. 

Organizers thanked the sponsors of the 2023 Agriculture & Food Science Exploration Day that helped make this day successful: Mower County Farm Bureau, Reads Brown Swiss, The Hormel Foundation, Northern Country Co-op, Hormel Foods, and the Minnesota State Northern Agricultural Center of Excellence.

To learn more about AFSE Day or Mower County 4-H, please contact Adam Stevermer, 4-H Extension Educator, at [email protected] or 507-437-9552. For more information on postsecondary options in Ag & Food Science, please contact Riverland Community College Agriculture Instructor Nick Schiltz at [email protected] 

The post 2nd annual Agriculture & Food Science Exploration Day a success appeared first on Austin Daily Herald.

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