Local 4-H group visits TransOva Genetics

Published 9:00 am Sunday, May 4, 2014

By Megan Thorson, 4-H program coordinator

Did you know that the world’s population is expected to grow by over a third, or 2.3 billion people, between now and 2050? These projections show that feeding a world population of 9.1 billion people in 2050 would require raising overall food production by some 70 percent! Not only do we need to raise more crops for food production, but also to feed livestock. The efficiency of U.S. farmers benefits all of the world’s population. Sustainable, increased productivity will need to occur to help with this growth of production. So how do we get this increased productivity? Science!

The 4-H group at TransOva Genetics. – Submitted

The 4-H group at TransOva Genetics. – Submitted

As part of the University of Minnesota Extension Center for Youth Development, 4-H has made improving science literacy a priority and is working to develop the next generation of agriculture scientists. Research, science and advancements in biotechnology are the things that will help increase the food and crop production. 4-H provides hands on experiential, inquiry-based learning opportunities that promote excitement and interest in science and improve science literacy by equipping youth with science knowledge and skills.

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A few weeks ago, our 4-Hers and their parents were given a chance to travel to Sioux Center, Iowa, to visit TransOva Genetics. TransOva Genetics provides industry-leading reproductive technologies and expertise to cattle breeders to help clients advance and extend superior genetics.

Reproductive technologies such as embryo transfer, in-vitro fertilization, sexed-semen, genetic preservation and cloning are considered the reproductive tools available for breeders looking to achieve specific breeding and reproductive goals. On-going research and applied science allows Trans Ova Genetics to develop and implement new technologies that will help move the science of bovine genetic improvement forward. Our 4-Hers and their parents were able to get an in depth explanation about the science behind their services, tour the state of the art facilities, talk with employees of TransOva about their jobs as well as educational background and visit the many science labs. What a great opportunity for these youth to explore not only different careers within agriculture, but the science behind the reproduction of bovine animals.

A few other things that Freeborn County 4-H is going to be doing are offering science challenges as well as animal science project days and livestock and agriculture field trips. 4-H’ers have the opportunity to build a Rube Goldberg Machine that will zip a zipper through a series of chain reactions. Youth have the chance to exhibit these at county fair and then state fair. In the fall of 2014, a 4-H Science of Agriculture challenge will start. Youth will work with local experts to come up with solutions to agriculture-related issues that are affecting our community. Of course, in 4-H, youth have the chance to always share their knowledge and discoveries through many of the 4-H projects that are exhibited at county and state fairs.

We will be looking for experts in the community who can help mentor these youth and get them excited about science. Without science, ag production will not be able to be sustainable and increase in productivity to help feed the world. We are raising the next generation of farmers and scientists that will help improve life to produce the food, fiber, pharmaceuticals and fuel for the world! Why not give these kids more opportunities and experiences to help them and the world?