4-H Science of Agriculture: Investing in youth

4-H Science of Agriculture: Investing in youth

When this opportunity was presented
to me it really hit home with what I love to see young people doing and that
is researching applied science that will bring some good data to farming and
perhaps bring about change in the way we do agriculture here in Minnesota. When I
was first approached to mentor in the 4-H Science of Agriculture Challenge it was
intriguing because it allowed me the opportunity to talk and to work
specifically with kids who are interested in learning more about the
scientific method, but also because the topic itself, which was water quality in
the Minnesota River, was important to me. So I'm here today with Minnesota Corn Growers
Association, and we've been a sponsor now for the second year for this 4-H Science
of Ag Challenge. I really like the connection that I get to build with
students. I like being able to see what they're capable of from a performance perspective and I
like being able to follow up with them and see where they go from there because
i think that's the most exciting thing to see–the potential and what they
follow through with. This agricultural challenge is very important because it
gives young people an opportunity to develop projects, to develop an
understanding of using good scientific methodology, developing good
communication skills and probably coming up with some very good ideas that will
provide innovations for the future. It's great practice for the real world
and we need youth to come into agriculture. There's not enough people in this field
right now. It's a great opportunity for them to get in front of other ag
professionals and get passionate about agriculture and their future careers. I volunteered to be a judge because,
personally and with our company Cargill, we have a very strong commitment to give
back to the communities in which we do business. Cargill is a food business and we
appreciate that on a global basis we need young people coming in for the state, the country, and the world, in
order to meet our ongoing requirements for increasing food supply. My job at
Rahr has allowed me to use the power of the company as a corporation to be involved
in environmental initiatives, but we do concentrate on a couple things. We
concentrate on the environment, we concentrate on kids and education. So if
you think about it, this project is really kind of an
accumulation of two of those very important things. I think young people have the
ears of what we would call middle-aged and older people. They will listen to
these young people and understand that their science is sound, and their science
is well founded, and their science is pointed toward making better decisions.

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