Environmental science

The environment is important to everyone, but especially farmers. Farming depends on healthy soil, predictable climate and planning. These pieces highlight ways that data is informing farmer decisions, engineering is helping farmers solve problems, and science is affecting crop yield and best management practices.

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A global pandemic doesn’t stop water quality research‍

Every state that touches the Atlantic or Pacific Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico or one of the Great Lakes has a Sea Grant Program. Sea Grant Programs are modeled after Land Grant Institutions, and take the research results and disseminate the information …
industry leader
industry leader

Barbara Bloetscher

State Apiarist/ Entomologist for The Ohio Dept of Agriculture, Division of Plant Health
apiarist biology pollinators
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Barges, trains and trucks: Logistics and moving soybeans

2 lessons, 10 files
Why is transportation for commodity crops so critical? Infrastructure is critical to the functions of the country, in particular the shipment of commodity crops such as soybeans. This unit introduces students to several types of infrastructure that are …
industry leader
industry leader

Barry McGraw

Director, Product Development and Commercialization at the Ohio Soybean Council
stem aquaculture engineering research and development soy-based products soybeans
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Bio-stimulants for higher yields and carbon‍

Bio-stimulants include both bacterial and fungal inoculants, various types of compost, and organic adjuvants that stimulate plant growth and improve yield.
career video
career video

Bioproducts

Aug 10, 2017
Ohio is a leading producer of soybeans and polymers which means thousands of job opportunities! Learn about the production of bioproducts and the many related career paths.
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teacher leader

Chuck Crawford

Environmental Science Teacher at Dublin Jerome High School
agriculture education data environmental science simulations urban farming
article
article

Comparing nozzle spray rates for smart farming

Jan 7, 2019
How do different nozzles affect application rates on crops? Dan Schmiesing of Upper Valley Career Center used the activity Managing nutrient and pesticide needs in agriculture with juniors in his Ag Power and Technology Class to show them! …
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Controlling corn and soybean pests‍

Controlling pests of corn and soybeans can be difficult. Most farmers rely on seed treatments and broad-spectrum insecticides which terminate the pests but also takes out the beneficial natural predators.
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CRISPR may save chocolate!!

Jun 21, 2019
Reid Rice, research scientist for Pioneer, shared information about current seed research projects with the teachers at Ohio Soybean Council-sponsored Ag Biotech Academy. The participants learned about biotech in seed science. Rice said, “Trait s …
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Dinner and data and drones, oh my!: technology in agriculture

3 lessons, 5 files
What technologies are used to help farmers become more productive and more sustainable? Drones (or UAVs-unmanned aerial vehicles) are taking to the skies. What are they doing up there? What other technologies are there that help growers become more productive, yet more thoughtful about …
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teacher leader

Donna Meller

High school science teacher at Pettisville High School: Science 8, Environmental Science, Physics, Chemistry, Anatomy & Physiology, and High School Research Class
biology chemistry environmental science food science stem anatomy & physiology physics renewable energy science fair
article
article

Drone demo at dinner

Jun 21, 2019
Alex Ryan of OSU Precision Ag came to the Ag Biotech Academy industry dinner and demonstrated his drone to the teachers gathered there. He was able to fly the drone over the fields around the dinner area and display the video on a computer screen. …
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Earthworms enhance soil tilth and fertility‍

Every farmer loves to see earthworms in their soil because it indicates good soil health and productivity. Earthworms, cover crops, and no-till together are a great way to improve your soil.
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Engineering solutions in agriculture

2 lessons, 2 files
How does modern agriculture use engineering to address soil compaction? Looking for an activity that combines robotics, coding, and engineering with a real life problem? This unit uses MakeBlock parts, Scratch programming, and modeling to help students design a solution …
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career video

Global aquaculture

Jul 6, 2017
Have you considered a career in aquaculture? Watch and learn more about this fast-growing, global career.
industry leader
industry leader

Greg LaBarge

Field Specialist, Agronomic Systems at The Ohio State University Extension
ohio state university agronomist extension nutrients plant science water quality
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Healthy soils suppress pests‍

Farmers who improve soil health increase the amount of soil carbon being stored, and recycled. The increased carbon flow increases microbial numbers and efficiency leading to improved plant photosynthesis. The entire soil ecosystem functions at a …
teacher leader
teacher leader

Heather Bryan

Former Environmental Science Teacher and Education Consultant at Education Projects & Partnerships
biology environmental science farming chickens
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How does flooding affect soybean germination?‍

The recent heavy rains have created flooded conditions in many areas and producers need to understand how the standing water will affect their soybean fields.
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teacher leader

Jason Hardin

Microbiology and Environmental Science Teacher; Environmental Club Advisor at Gahanna Lincoln High School
biology environmental science genetics microbiology
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industry leader

Jeff Goodbar

Regional sales manager, Sunrise Cooperative
biology agronomy biofuels herbicides fertilizer plant genetics agriscience biotechnology
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teacher leader

Jeff Jostpille

Biology, Anatomy, Environmental Science, Botany, Zoology, 8th Grade Science teacher at Fort Jennings High School
biology environmental science
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teacher leader

John Thomas

Biotechnology and Environmental Science instructor at Tolles Technical Center, Fairbanks Middle and High School
biotechnology genetics toxicology aquaponics
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teacher leader

Kathy Daniels

AP Environmental Science, AP Biology, Environmental Science, Biology teacher for Mississinewa Community Schools
alternative energy biofuels biotechnology global climate change gmos
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industry leader

Lara Alpan

Head of Science Outreach, Crop Science at Bayer
plant breeding global agriculture stem biotechnology
industry leader
industry leader

Leah McHale

Associate Professor, soybean breeder and geneticist at The Ohio State University
ohio state university horticulture pest management plant genetics plant science seeds
industry leader
industry leader

Libby Dayton

Soil Scientist at the Ohio State University
ohio state university nutrients plant science water quality soil science
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Living the hive life: honey bees and pollinators

4 lessons, 9 files
How important are honey bees to our food supply? What’s happening to honey bees? This unit contains three different ways to learn about honey bees and pollinators: a video for all to learn more about bees and how to successfully keep them, a p …
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Maintaining our yield: assessing biotic and abiotic factors

3 lessons, 10 files
How do biotic and abiotic factors affect populations? Create experiments to test how abiotic factors impact soybean germination, go into the field and laboratory to determine the impact of aphid populations on soybeans, and experiment with aphid …
career video
career video

Managing plant pathogens using integrated pest management (IPM)

Apr 2, 2018
Do you like to work outside? A Plant Pathology and Microbiology Scientist talks about scouting for pest problems in a soybean field. Thank you to PBS Learning Media for providing this video. Credit: This module was designed and produced by Iowa …
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Not your grandparent’s soils‍

“You are not farming the same soils your grandparents farmed,” said Hans Kok, Program Director for the Conservation Technology Information Center in Indiana. Over the past 100 years, farming practices employed in America have led to a deterioration of …
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Plant nutrient availability‍

Plant nutrient availability is dependent on several factors including soil moisture, temperature, microbes, pH, chemical nutrient form, and plant root proximity.
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Practices that promote birds, bees, and butterflies‍

The ideal farm setting for bee and butterfly conservation are smaller fields (10 acres) separated by fencerows or buffer strips. A diversity of flowering plants throughout the growing season offers these pollinators refuge and extra food.
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career video

Precision agriculture

Oct 5, 2017
Matt Liskai the President/Co-Owner of Green Field Ag talks about his career in precision agriculture.
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Promoting beneficial insects‍

There are three major ways to fight harmful insects: chemical insecticides, good plant nutrition from soil health, and by promoting insect predators.
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Reducing nitrogen runoff‍

Healthy soils keep our nutrients recycling, plant available, and result in less nitrogen pollutions (less N runoff or N lost as atmospheric gases).
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Smart farming: using data to make decisions

5 lessons, 27 files
What kind of data do farmers use to make decisions? Where does that data come from? Become a "farmer" on a journey from pre-planting to harvest to see what decisions farmers are making every year as they farm. Growers across the country are gaining access to more and more data about …
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article

Summit students tackle food security

Apr 17, 2019
Food security—it’s a BIG issue! The Ohio STEM Learning Network’s 2019 Design Challenge is to work as a team to imagine, design and prototype a solution to increase food security in your life, community, or world. Students across Ohio are considering dif …
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The dirt on soil health‍

“Farmers need to grow the ‘herd’ of organisms below the soil surface, and help regenerate the soil,” said Brown. There are a number of factors that go into growing the ‘herd’ or organisms. The use of cover crops is one key to feeding the organisms.
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The smell of rain and microbes‍

Rain on healthy soils may decrease stress and improve your mood by 60%. The human nose can detect geosmin at 5 part per trillion or very low levels. That’s why a good rain can be so refreshing to human mental health and is related to healthy soil m …
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teacher leader

Todd Tayloe

Biology, Anatomy and Physiology, Human Biology teacher at Carroll High School
anatomy & physiology biology
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Waste management not really that different for the city and the farm‍

Ever since the harmful algal bloom (HAB) of 2014 developed in the Maumee Bay of Western Lake Erie and impacted the water intake and treatment plant for the City of Toledo, the question of who is to blame has been center stage. Unfortunately, as …
e-learning
e-learning

Water quality

What factors are used to judge water quality? What human activities might lead to cultural eutrophication and harmful algal blooms? Students will learn about the process and effects of cultural eutrophication and describe ways to reduce risk.

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Water quality and human impacts

3 lessons, 8 files
Why is water quality important? How is water quality measured? The US EPA has set water quality standards in accordance with the Clean Water Act: Water quality standards are important because they help to protect and restore the quality of the Nation's surface …
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Watersheds, wetlands and water quality data analysis

4 lessons, 7 files
Why is water quality important? What factors impact water quality? This unit will discuss the importance of water quality, describe several impacts to water quality, and include a data analysis activity that students complete to determine how wetlands play a role in …
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Where does our food come from, anyway? Sustainable ag systems

3 lessons, 7 files
How do growers’ decisions affect the sustainability of agricultural systems? Understand and appreciate food producers through this case study and determine what decisions must be made on a yearly, monthly, or daily basis to maintain an environmental system that will continue …
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article

Working on water quality: touring a demonstration farm

Sep 13, 2019
The environment matters to everyone, but especially to farmers—they make their living from the land! So when water quality in Lake Erie is compromised, farmers want to do their part to help. Teachers at the recent Ohio Soybean Council-sponsored B …