Students Conduct Sustainable Ag Research through SSARE Youth Grants Program
GRIFFIN, Georgia – A group of undergraduate college students got the opportunity to help further sustainable agriculture research and education through a Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SSARE) youth grants program.
The Young Scholar Enhancement Grants Program is an extension of SSARE’s Research & Education Grants that allows youth to partner with researchers on SSARE-funded projects to participate in sustainable agriculture research.
Many of the SSARE funded projects are ideally suited for student internship mentoring opportunities. The goal of the program is to engage youth in the collegiate process and encourage pursuit of college degrees emphasizing sustainable agriculture.
The first Young Scholar Enhancement Grants were awarded in 2013. Grant recipients for 2014 included:
LS11-241: Enhancing Natural Enemy Systems: Biocontrol Implementation for Peachtree Borers; Rashaad Culver, a senior at Fort Valley State University majoring in Biology. The goal was to develop a non-toxic formulation to protect beneficial insect-killing nematodes from ultraviolet radiation and/or desiccation to enhance efficacy in suppression of the lesser peachtree borer and other insects that attack crops aboveground. In the project, Culver studied concentration rates of Barricade® gel, and found that the formulation used at a rate of two percent effectively protects entomopathogenic nematodes from harmful environmental conditions.
LS12-248: Quantifying the Multiplier Effect: What Sustainable Local Food Systems Can Mean to Local Communities (this project will be completed in the Fall)
LS12-249: Improving Soil Quality to Increase Yield and Reduce Diseases in Organic Rice Production; William Tarpley, Texas A&M University petroleum engineering major. Tarpley conducted research in organic rice fields that involved water sampling to measure the amount of dissolved organic compounds, as well as the pH of the sample water. In addition, he took gas samples to measure the amount of greenhouse gases that are emitted by rice plants. By participating in the project, Tarpley gained knowledge about plant sampling and analyses and how the processes are relevant to the oil and gas industry.
LS12-250: Extending the Market Season with High Tunnel Technology for Organic Fruit Production; Olivia Caillouet, a junior majoring in horticulture at the University of Arkansas. The project aimed to develop environmentally and economically sustainable organic berry production systems combining high tunnel and field production to provide season extension and expanded production. Read more about Caillouet's experience in her blog.
The Southern SARE Administrative Council plans to offer the grants again in 2015. Research and Education Grant research recipients with open and on-going SSARE funded projects are qualified to apply for the Young Scholar Enhancement Grant Program to hire high school or college students to participate in their research program.
Learn more about the Young Scholar Enhancement Grant Program.
Published by the Southern Region of the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program. Funded by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), Southern SARE operates under cooperative agreements with the University of Georgia, Fort Valley State University, and the Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture to offer competitive grants to advance sustainable agriculture in America's Southern region.