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Local 4-H Science of Ag teams heading for nationals

Editors note: This is the second in a series of articles running through National 4-H Week, highlighting all the good things this organization does for youth.

Read the first part here:  Teens learn and lead in 4-H


By Kate Harrington

University of Minnesota Extension

Eight teams of youth from across Minnesota met at the University of Minnesota this summer to share their research findings for the 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 six Minnesota counties, each addressing an agriculture issue their local community is experiencing. Mower County was represented by two teams at the 4-H Science of Agriculture Challenge.

Maddison Hoesing and Brianna Klouse made up the Mower County Apple Swiss team and presented their project on Escherichia Coli. At the state contest, they received the Fortitude Award and the Community Engagement Award. They are coached by Amanda Klouse and Amie Klouse.

The second team representing Mower County 4-H at the state contest was the Jerky Journey team. Coached by Jodi VanPelt, members included Hannah Hecimovich, Sarah Hecimovich, Megan Silbaugh, Kaitlin Meiergerd, and Ryan VanPelt. They presented the benefits of eating and incorporating lamb into more of the American diet. This team earned the Innovator Award and the Community Engagement Award.

“Through my experience on the Science of Agriculture team, it has helped me understand the importance of educating consumers of where their food comes from and who’s producing that food,” said Ryan VanPel, who has been a member of 4-H for 11 years.

Both teams will represent Minnesota and Mower County 4-H in January at the 2020 Agri-Science National Youth Summit in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

The 4-H Science of Agriculture Challenge is a hands-on learning experience to inspire Minnesota youth. Teams of two to eight participants in grades 6-12 work with volunteer coaches and mentors to identify agriculture-related issues in their communities and develop and share solutions.

To learn more about 4-H in Mower County, contact Interim 4-H Program Coordinator Kate Harrington, at 507-437-9552 and visit the website, www.4-H.umn.edu.