New Mexico State University is offering a new camp for youth that will introduce them to technology in the agricultural industry.
The College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences is presenting the free virtual Innovators in Agriculture Camp for youth ages 15 to 18.
The 30-day program will begin with a Launch Party on Thursday, June 25. It will end on Friday, July 24, with participants presenting short videos of their innovative ideas and projects.
"This interactive program will introduce students to the technology and innovations that are currently being used for food production and environmental sustainability," said Marcy Ward, NMSU Extension livestock specialist and chair of the camp's committee.
"This will be a great opportunity for the students to meet people from across the state and share ideas about how to feed the world with the help of technology."
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the state's restriction on gatherings, the committee is shifting from a four-day camp on NMSU's campus to an online format.
"Now, more than ever, it is evident the great importance that innovation has in the food and agricultural systems," said Rolando Flores, dean of the College of ACES. "The work that our faculty will be doing with the participants in this camp shows the dedication and clear definition that the ACES College at NMSU has with the need to improve the food and agricultural systems, attract young participants to the processes and maintain the sustainability of those systems."
With demonstrations, interactive exercises and virtual tours of various agricultural businesses, the students will be introduced to four areas of the industry – agriculture economics, agronomy, animal production and food processing. The students will be able to attend as many of the modules that they wish.
"With many issues regarding the sustainability of today's food supply during the coronavirus pandemic, the camp theme will focus on how agriculture is responding to the current challenges," Ward said.
Topics will include:
- What's involved in supplying a food pantry.
- How can the technology used in larger farming operations be brought to the backyard garden?
- How can technology play a role in getting beef back on the shelves of the local market?
- Creating a food processing system that is flexible when the demands change.
"The virtual tours will take camp participants to facilities they may not have an opportunity to see otherwise, such as a cheese plant, large feedlots, dairies and more," Ward said.
The culminating activity will be the participants presenting their ideas for a solution to one of the issues they learned about.
"We want to hear their ideas on how to make our system better, using technology as a tool to do so," Ward said. "They will select an area of most interest to them for self-guided research. On July 24 they will have an opportunity to give a pitch or demonstration explaining their idea to a panel of judges."
To register and learn more about the camp, visit aces.nmsu.edu/agtechcamp/. For additional information, contact Ward at email@example.com or 575-644-3379.