Ag Biotech Academy: another winning workshop!

Ag Biotech Academy 2017: 2 days, 29 teachers, and lots of lively learning! This Ohio Soybean Council-sponsored workshop took place at the Global Impact STEM Academy in July, with two activity tracks.

AgBiotech 101, presented by GNG teacher leader Pam Snyder, presented an introduction to biotech, DNA structure and genetic engineering on Day 1. Teachers learned about restriction enzymes and created agarose gels, then used electrophoresis and “moved genes”.

Ag Biotech in Action was led by Rachel Sanders and Jennifer Foudray, GNG teacher leaders and instructors at GISA. This group did cell culturing and followed aseptic techniques to collect plant tissue from soybeans, tested the proteins found in GMO vs non GMO seed, made soy milk chocolate bars in Clark State’s onsite food science lab, and tested the chocolate’s protein and nutrient content.

Day 1 concluded with a farm dinner that provided conversation opportunities for teachers, farmers, OSC board members and industry leaders.

GrowNextGen wants to help promote awareness of ag-related careers. In addition to the career resources on our website, guest speakers provided job information to the workshop group. Kyle Poling, Field Agronomist for DuPont Pioneer, spoke about new developments in his industry. Kirk Reese, DuPont Pioneer Agronomy Manager, talked about CRISPR and soybean variety breeding. Ryan Burgess from the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation discussed workforce development in Ohio and how to inspire students in regard to jobs of the future. Cassie Palsgrove from ODE Career Connections shared helpful resources on the Ohio Means Jobs website.

And because we like ACTION, the group took a field trip to a Sunrise Co-op test plot. Agronomy Sales Manager Jeff Goodbar shared about the kind of research going on at the plot, then demonstrated how to hand-pollinate a soybean plant. The challenges of such an endeavor left everyone impressed with the determination of past researchers and grateful for modern developments such as CRISPR!

We’ll be back next summer, so don’t miss your chance to be a part of this great workshop! Watch our newsletter and website for information.