SPRINGFIELD, Ill., June 5, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Students from Illinois and four other states across the Midwest are taking on the Healthy Soils Carbon Soil Investigation Challenge as part of the 2017 4-H Ag Innovators Experience (4-H AIE) activity. The program, sponsored by Monsanto Company, focuses on engaging youth to learn about soil health, sustainable environmental practices and the need to be good stewards of the land.
The two-part, collaborative, hands-on challenge, developed by The Ohio State University, helps youth to not only discover the composition of soil, but also understand the impact of tilling soil and explore new ways to farm with less disruption to the soil ecosystem.
The Healthy Soils Challenge will take place this summer at various sites, including traditional 4-H clubs, 4-H camps, school enrichment and 4-H afterschool settings. Key events in Illinois include:
- June 5, 12, 26, 30 – 4-H Memorial Camp (Monticello, Ill.)
- June 21 – Science & Tech Camp at Camp Shaw-Wa-Na-See (Manteno, Ill.)
- July 13 – ACES Family Academies Workshop (Urbana, Ill.)
- July 25 – Camp Shaw-Wa-Na-See Global Camp (Manteno, Ill.)
"This program was created for students to get hands on experience and generate an understanding of the challenges farmers face," said National 4-H Council President and CEO Jennifer Sirangelo. "We're excited this program brings together students throughout their communities for an education on real-world problems and the opportunity to apply critical thinking and problem-solving skills for solutions."
In part one of the challenge, students work in teams to discover what healthy soil looks like and conduct tests to determine the overall soil health. The second part of the challenge focuses on finding a solution to keep microbials and nutrients in the soil while minimizing soil disruption and carbon release during the planting process. Using tiny robots that react to their environment, teams design, build and test a 1:64 scale no-till planter that disrupts the least amount of soil when planting, minimizes equipment drag and reduces soil compacting. By the end of the activity, students have an understanding of how properly maintained soil can help reduce agriculture's carbon footprint.
"Monsanto is excited to continue our longstanding partnership with the National 4-H Council through the Ag Innovators Experience program," said Mark Martino, National 4-H Council board member and Vice President, Global Crop Protection Supply Chain Operations for Monsanto Company. "Initiatives like the Healthy Soils Challenge help educate young people about real-world challenges and explore sustainable agriculture solutions through STEM-focused activities."
To learn more about the 4-H Ag Innovators Experience, visit http://www.4-h.org/about/partners/monsanto/.
4-H, the nation's largest youth development organization, grows confident young people who are empowered for life today and prepared for careers tomorrow. 4-H programs empower nearly six million young people across the U.S. through experiences that develop critical life skills. 4-H is the youth development program of our nation's Cooperative Extension System and USDA, and serves every county and parish in the U.S. through a network of 110 public universities and more than 3,000 local Extension offices. Globally, 4-H collaborates with independent programs to empower one million youth in 50 countries. The research-backed 4-H experience grows young people who are four times more likely to contribute to their communities; two times more likely to make healthier choices; two times more likely to be civically active; and two times more likely to participate in STEM programs.
Monsanto is committed to bringing a broad range of solutions to help nourish our growing world. We produce a variety of seeds ranging from fruits and vegetables to key crops - such as corn, soybeans, and cotton - that help farmers produce abundant and nutritious food. We work to find sustainable agriculture solutions that help farmers conserve natural resources, use data to improve farming practices, use water and other important resources more efficiently, and protect their crops from pests and disease. Through programs and partnerships, we collaborate with farmers, researchers, nonprofit organizations, universities and others to help tackle some of the world's biggest challenges. To learn more about Monsanto, our commitments and our more than 20,000 dedicated employees, please visit: discover.monsanto.com and monsanto.com. Follow our business on Twitter® at twitter.com/MonsantoCo, on the company blog, Beyond the Rows® at monsantoblog.com or subscribe to our News Release RSS Feed.
Brian Leake, America's Farmers, (314) 694-5107
Jacklyn Barron, Weber Shandwick, (314) 552-6717
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SOURCE Monsanto Company