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  PUTTING THE SCIENCE IN AGRISCIENCE
 
By: Taylor Cooper, Harmony FFA
July 12, 2012

 
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For most FFA students, a Supervised Agriculture Experience means training and showing livestock, building a show project or growing vegetables, but for some it means donning a lab coat, breaking out the beakers and probes and conducting a research project.

One of the biggest parts of state convention is the Texas FFA Agriscience Fair. Divided into several categories and four divisions based on age and team sizes, the agriscience fair gives students a chance to display their knowledge, research and speaking skills for the chance to win a $1000 Richard Walrath Foundation scholarship and a trip to Indianapolis for the National FFA Agriscience Fair.

This is a particularly special year for the agriscience fair with the introduction of a new category – social science.

“The new social category allows students to conduct research projects on human behavior, attitudes and even public perception of certain issues,” says Dr. Rudy Ritz, superintendent of the agriscience fair.

Including participants in the new category, the agriscience fair had a total of 104 entries, many of which included two-person teams. Projects ranged from the perception of lean finely textured beef and media bias to the calorie content of dog food and even the effects of social media on teenagers. The agriscience fair draws in many select students for several reasons. “I always loved science in school,” said fourth year agriscience fair competitor Jalen Henson of the Gilmer FFA chapter. “My teacher told me about [the science fair] my freshman year and I thought I’d give it a try. I loved having the chance to present my project and I really enjoyed getting to travel around Texas.”

Travel is not the only benefit of the agriscience fair. The judges are often university professors and view the science fair as an opportunity to recruit future scientists. Likewise, agricultural proponents recognize the publicity delivered through the fair as a gateway to educate the “ag-ignorant.”
 
 
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