Nebraska Extension and Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture partnered together to teach youth ages 8-16 years old at the 3rd Annual Agronomy Youth Field Day in Curtis. The participants had hands-on experiences to learn about the science of agronomy and Nebraska crops. The educational event was held August 8 at the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture (NCTA) Educational Center in Curtis, NE.
A team of seven Nebraska Extension educators specializing in cropping/ water systems, or 4-H youth development along with a NCTA agronomy professor shared research-based information with the thirty students and 6 adults. Participants traveled from Mason City, McCook, Callaway, Sutherland, Wallace, Eustis, Elwood and Curtis & other surrounding areas to attend the workshop.
The six-hour field day was a great opportunity for youth to gain important life skills while learning about careers in science and agronomy, irrigation, and mechanized agriculture. There were hands-on field activities (for all ages) focusing on pest management, equipment technology, crop growth, soil erosion and soil management, precision farming, and center-pivot irrigation technology. Among the activities, students scouted crops and learned about plant and weed identification, viewed rainfall simulations and the resulting soil erosion, used sensors to measure soil moisture, and saw how those measurements are used in irrigation management.
The interactive sessions were organized in two tracts: one for youth ages 9-11 years and one for youth ages 12-18 years. The sessions included field, laboratory and classroom activities.
Several of this year’s field day youth participants rated the day “Excellent” and had these comments:
- “I learned different ways to check soil moisture.
- “I learned about no till and till.”
- “I learned the name of 17 weeds!”
A grandparent commented, “I just wanted to let you know how much my son and grandkids enjoyed the program in Curtis. One of the programs was on watering soybeans. When they got home, the kids went out to the field and got a soybean plant so they could count the nodes and see if it is getting enough water. They told their dad the soybeans need more water!”
A parent participant said, “My son really enjoyed it. He was getting wiggly during the last session & I wondered if he was even listening to the lessons but he was able to tell his dad about every session! The educators did a great job of getting through to the kids!”