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Classroom connections to careers

Want to make your students aware of the wide variety of ag-related career opportunities available today? According to the National Ag Day website, approximately 22 million people work in agriculture-related fields. Seed to STEM workshop participants learned how hands-on lab activities relate to the job market.

Blake Smith of Maize South High School said, “I liked meeting the farmers at the dinner and seeing how this science is being used in the real world. We got to tour the ethanol plant, which was a really cool experience. We did fermentation and distillation labs in the classroom and then we were able to see some of that process at the plant.”

Teachers toured the East Kansas Agri-Energy ethanol plant in Garnett, Kansas. This facility produces more than 40 million gallons of ethanol, 200,000 tons of the livestock feed distillers grains and 5 million pounds of corn oil each year from more than 16 million bushels of locally-sourced corn.

Another workshop activity involved moving specific genetic material from one organism to another. Seed scientists use this skill in seed research and development. Teacher Lacie Fair commented, “It’s great to have the opportunity to see this simple biotechnology device that is the bedrock of that kind of work. To show that to the kids and be able to say, “Hey, it’s not that intimidating or hard; this is something you can be successful at!” is powerful.”

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