Michigan 4-H received $20,000 grant to encourage agriscience career exploration

Michigan 4-H implemented the 2017 4-H Ag Innovators Experience, which engaged youth in scientific exploration and let them explore how an interest in science could lead to a related career in agriculture.

Michigan 4-H was named one of five states to receive a $20,000 grant through the National 4-H Council to implement the 2017 4-H Ag Innovators Experience project. The project, administered through National 4-H Council and sponsored by Monsanto, is in its fourth year.

The 2017 4-H Ag Innovators Experience engaged over 20 4-H teens who taught a lesson linking the importance of healthy soil to food production and security to more than 1,000 youth throughout Michigan in grades 3-8. The activity, “The Healthy Soils Carbon Soil Investigation Challenge,” explored the role of soil in storing and utilizing carbon to improve soil health while decreasing the effects of climate change. The Healthy Soil Challenge took place in counties throughout Michigan through 4-H programming in schools, camps and 4-H clubs.

The project engaged youth in scientific exploration that allowed them to increase their skills in critical thinking, decision-making and problem-solving. The activity provides an opportunity to explore how an interest in science could lead to a related career in agriculture.

The demand for skilled labor in the agriculture career sector is increasing with pressures of a growing world population of nine billion people by 2015, creating a need for increased food production. As fewer young people enter the agriculture sector of the workforce, the average age of America’s farmers has increased for the past 30 years to its all-time high of 57 years old.

Additionally through this project, 4-H teen leaders had the opportunity to grow their leadership and communication skills, engage in finding solutions to local and global food security issues, and explore career opportunities in science and agriculture.

Michigan State University Extension and Michigan 4-H Youth Development help to prepare young people for successful futures. As a result of career exploration and workforce preparation activities, thousands of Michigan youth are better equipped to make important decisions about their professional future, ready to contribute to the workforce and able to take fiscal responsibility in their personal lives.

To learn about the positive impact of Michigan 4-H youth career preparation, money management and entrepreneurship programs, read the 2015 Impact Report: “Preparing Michigan Youth for Future Careers and Employment.”

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