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2017 FFA Career Success Day Field Trip to Starkey Farms

Article by Robert Barr.

CEES, with support from USDA-NIFA and in partnership with colleagues from the Hendricks County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), the Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA), and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), hosted a Future Farmers of America (FFA) Career Success Day on October 26 at Starkey Farms in Brownsburg, Indiana. The goal of the Career Success Day was to introduce FFA members to the wide range of careers available in agriculture. To help meet this goal, CEES enlisted the support of many of our partners to demonstrate the wide range of scientists and agricultural professionals involved in research at Starkey Farms and in the School Branch Watershed. It was the 5th time that CEES has coordinated the field trip as part of the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis. Our host, Mike Starkey, was harvesting and unable to participate in person this year – but FFA members enjoyed his warm barn and hospitality even in his absence. The participants heard Aubrey Bunch (USGS) discuss water quality monitoring with a “super gage” and Bree Ollier (Hendricks County SWCD) and Matt Williams (ISDA) discuss farm management and conservation. Jerod Chew, the NRCS District Conservationist for Hendricks and Marion Counties, demonstrated the benefits of soil health practices and discussed how the practices are being incorporated into farm management in Indiana. CEES staff discussed soil health and demonstrated the continuous edge-of-field monitoring at Starkey Farms. The 58 FFA members and their advisors were actively engaged throughout the sessions, asking good questions, and everyone enjoyed the unusually mild late October weather. We look forward to hosting a new group of FFA members next year!

 Aubrey Bunch (USGS) demonstrates a USGS stream gage at Starkey Farms. (Photograph by R. Barr.) 

Danielle Follette (CEES) discusses the sampling equipment used for the Edge of Field project at Starkey Farms. (Photograph by R. Barr.) 

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