ND 4-H’ers gain knowledge at National Agri-Science Summit

NDSU Extension
Farm Forum

Mayville, N.D., 4-H’er Kaitlyn Joerger has a deeper understanding and appreciation for agriculture after attending the recent National Youth Summit on Agri-Science in Chevy Chase, Md.

“Since the first day we flew out, I knew this trip would be something to remember,” Joerger says.

She was one of three North Dakota delegates selected from among 12 candidates to attend the summit. The others were Marie Kraemer of Grand Forks and Lilly Bina of Lankin.

This is the sixth year of the summit but the first time North Dakota youth participated. The National 4 H Council and National 4 H Conference Center partner with agricultural scientists, researchers, leaders, politicians and advocates to host the event.

During the summit, high school students (grades nine to 12) develop the skills and knowledge they need to meet the challenges facing agriculture, food security and sustainability. The summit emphasizes hands-on educational experiences led by experts in the agricultural community.

The summit brings together youth and adult teams from across the nation who share a common passion for agriculture, and provide youth and adults with a professional development opportunity that prepares them to serve as leaders and advocates for agriculture. At this year’s summit, North Dakota youth had opportunities to learn technical skills, participate in hands-on activities and workshops, and engage with nationally recognized leaders.

The delegates:

  • Gained knowledge and skills in a variety of science and engineering topics, including animal, plant, environmental and food science, and agricultural engineering and technology, with an emphasis on new technology and issues, such as precision agriculture, alternative energy, genetic modifications and consumer trends.
  • Gained an understanding of current issues of concern across the nation in agriculture, including food security and sustainability, and agricultural literacy, and learned how youth can address these issue.
  • Identified their personal strengths and considered their connection to careers in agriculture.
  • Increased their awareness of careers in agriculture and the pathways to those careers.
  • Identified an agri-science issue in their community, considered potential solutions and developed an action plan their team can execute to address the issue.

“Throughout this experience, I got to meet people from states all over the U.S.,” Joerger says. “I participated in several active sessions that helped broaden my view of agriculture, listened to speeches by Ted Mckinney (U.S. undersecretary of agriculture for trade and foreign agricultural affairs) and Serena Woodard (an Oklahoma 4-H’er who received the 2018 4-H Youth in Action Agriculture Pillar Award), visited our nation’s capital, went on a night tour to see well-known monuments in Washington D.C., and, lastly, I was able to help make an action plan to bring home to my community.”

Kraemer is eager to share the knowledge she gained.

“At the 4-H National Youth Summit on Agri-Science, I was introduced to and educated on many different agricultural topics, including local cooperatives, biosecurity, precision farming, marketing, bio-based products and bioenergy, GMOs, innovations in agri-science and more,” she says. “Attending the summit really opened my eyes to numerous aspects of agriculture. I came back with so much new knowledge.”

Greg Benz, North Dakota State University Extension’s agriculture and natural resources agent in Dunn County, chaperoned North Dakota’s delegates.

“It was great being a chaperone to three wonderful young ladies who were actively engaged and wonderful examples of what 4-H is all about,” he says. “They worked hard on our project activity and thoroughly made the most of the experience.”

The CHS Foundation provided the funding for the delegates and their chaperone to attend the summit.

Three North Dakota 4-H’ers were selected to attend the 2019 National Youth Summit on Agri-Science in Chevy Chase, Md. Pictured are (from left) North Dakota delegates Kaitlyn Joerger, Lilly Bina and Marie Kraemer, and their chaperone, Greg Benz, NDSU Extension’s agriculture and natural resources agent in Dunn County.