Students from Ohio and other states were out in the field this week with Ohio soybean farmers Scott Metzger and Nathan Eckel. Ohio Soybean Council (OSC) provides live virtual field trips each spring and fall, so participants joined the farmer in the cab to ride along during harvest.

Metzger is an OSC board member who farms in southern Ohio, growing non-GMO soybeans destined for food products in Japan. Eckel, also a board member, farms and runs a livestock operation in Wood County near Toledo.

Students learned about the growth stages of soybeans from planting to harvest, as well as what happens after that. The farmers showed their combines and talked about how harvesting is done.

A look into the cab of the equipment clearly revealed the sophisticated technology involved, from a refrigerator under the seat to the self-steering mechanism and monitors for yield and more. Eckel said his iPad maps yields throughout the field, information used to create prescription maps for fertilizer application. “This allows up to put just the right amount in the right place at the right time,” Eckel said.

Other topics covered during the virtual field trips include crop rotation, careers related to agriculture that go beyond farming, and the uses of soybeans. Although we tend to think of soy as a food product, soybeans are used in a large number of industrial applications such as crayons, paint, ink, equipment grease, tires, vehicle seat cushions, and much more!

The best thing about these trips is the opportunity for students to ask the farmer questions directly. From “What is your favorite soy product?” to “How much rain does your crop need?”, the questions demonstrate lively curiosity on the part of the students and keep the farmers on their toes.

Join us in the spring for a planting virtual field trip. Watch our newsletter and social media for details!

View the elementary virtual field trip and the middle/high school field trip on the GrowNextGen YouTube channel.