The Demo Farm Tour workshop was a full day of learning! During lunch, Fort Jennings High School students learned about careers in agriculture in a Real Money, Real World activity. Global Impact STEM Academy teachers Lindsay Heintz, Amy Jo Henry, and Kristyn Keriazes shared about their externship experience with Sunrise Co-op. This opportunity, sponsored by the Ohio Soybean Council, allowed these teachers to learn more about field research and to create lessons around farming variables and decisions.
Glen Arnold is a Field Specialist with OSU Extension in Manure Nutrient Management Systems. He discussed manure application methods with the group, and explained how Ohio was a pioneer in liquid manure application as side dressing for crops.
Arnold gave the students some helpful advice about school: “Learn math. I wish I’d tried harder in chemistry, because so much of my job is about how nutrients respond to soil.” He also pointed out that his work required him to do applied research, not just learning something but understanding how it interacted with other factors in the real world. In the photo above, the student was weighing the amount of manure in pounds on a 56 x 56 square which correlates to tons per acre. This is an example of Arnold’s constant use of math in his career!
Jaysen Rump from Sunrise Co-op shared about how technology has allowed farmers to have a better understanding of their fields’ needs and yields, providing valuable data through such resources as drone photography, yield maps, and soil tests.
Workshop participants carried out water quality and soil tests. They also completed a topographic mapping activity about water flow presented by GrowNextGen facilitator Jane Hunt. Kecia Slob-Stewart from River Valley High School said, “I will be using the water testing kits when we gather data in our own stream and also at Tall Grass Trail! The soil tests will also be put to use as we are going to test our soil after we review information about our water! I also shared with my students some of the things I learned yesterday in hopes to get them excited about the idea that farming is not just farming—there is so much more involved!”
Abby Ryberg teaches Environmental Science at Kettering Fairmont High School. She said, “I plan to utilize so much of the content I learned AND educational ideas! I plan to greatly improve my topographic map unit, use some new ideas and the NEW testing supplies for my soil unit and water Unit, and add a whole new portion to my food/farming Unit. I have absolutely loved learning and seeing the more realistic view of our food industry and am blown away by the technology, research, and supports in place! I am so inspired just knowing that all of the ‘official’ people we met do what they do to ensure farming techniques continue to pursue sustainability and productivity!”