Biodiesel boats bringing smiles

By Matt Reese and Dale Minyo (article courtesy of Ohio Country Journal.)

The folks with GrowNextGen are staying very busy this summer. On July 22 the 2022 GrowNextGen Tour stopped at the Crawford County Fair highlighting biodiesel and soy ink through fun, hands-on activities for children.

A perennial favorite is an activity where participants learn about biodiesel and in the classroom experiment with different oils to see what makes the best fuel. The fuels are then used to power small boats.

“The students really like the biodiesel boats. They’re really reactive and fun to watch putz around,” said Patrick Miller, a GrowNextGen ambassador. “They can relate that to the big tractors they see in the fields or even the diesel trucks they might see driving down the highway. It is fun to watch their faces light up as soon as their boat is put into the water. It is like they won the lottery, every time.”

Miller is a student at Ohio State University planning on being an agricultural education teacher and was excited to help implement the GrowNextGen program this summer at events around Ohio. He had experiences as a student at Anthony Wayne High School in Lucas County with GrowNextGen and was excited to work on the other side of the curriculum.

“When I was in high school my ag teachers were a part of the program and used some of the curriculum that GrowNextGen puts out. I knew about it from that. I jumped on the opportunity to do this since I am going into the ag ed field,” Miller said. “The programs are really put together nicely. It is really easy to follow and understand as you’re doing it. They put it into a good package to help you know what you are doing.”

Kyla McCoy, from Wood County, is also a student at Ohio State. She is studying agrisicience education and has enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about teaching and agriculture through her work as a GrowNextGen ambassador.

“A lot of the students like the soybean chap stick and seeing how the different waxes can be used and knowing where it comes from,” McCoy said. “We’ll be at the State Fair doing biodiesel boats, strawberry DNA, Ohio apiary with bees and we’ll be flying drones.”

Ohio Ag Net and Ohio’s Country Journal will be continuing the 2022 GrowNextGen Tour with at the following stops this year:

• Ohio State Fair, Aug. 2, Columbus
• Chickenology Workshop, Aug. 12, Columbus
• Investigating Water Quality, Sept. 9, Highbanks Metro Park, Lewis Center
• ChickQuest, Sept. 27, Columbus
• Ohio Soybean Industry Dinner