2023 Youth Ag Innovation Showcase and Challenge

Moorefield W.Va. – Eastern West Virginia Community and Technical College hosted West Virginia educators and high school students on Friday, October 13 for the ninth annual Potomac Highlands Agriculture Technology and Innovation Student Challenge. The showcase gave students the chance to network with specialists in their field. Students could attend educational sessions presented by representatives from various organizations including WVU Extension, Farm Credit Knowledge Center, and other state, local, public, and private ag organizations, and businesses.

The challenge consisted of students developing solutions for issues the field of agriculture is facing using innovation in the form of technology, problem-solving, and new applications. Student teams prepared a three-minute presentation or demonstration to discuss their concept. A three-minute Q&A session followed the presentation. Teams of up to four high school students could register to compete with only one team permitted per school.

The day started with introductions from Dr. Tom Striplin, president of Eastern, Dr. Megan Webb, dean of advancement and innovation, and Robert Burns, director of non-profits. Once started, the partners in agriculture gathered to judge the student team presentations. Throughout the day, students were able to participate in a fun career exploration game called Smart Lego Play, led by Dixie Heavener, career counselor. Students also got a chance to tour the main campus as well. During lunch, which was provided by MeadowBrook Farm BBQ, Bill Woodrum, senior program officer at the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation spoke and presented awards. The afternoon was filled with fun activities for students where a mock farmers market was set up, and they could use Eastern bucks that were awarded to them throughout the day. A pumpkin decorating contest was also led by Dixie Heavener, where multiple students won for different categories of designs.

Special recognition to the West Virginia Department of Agriculture for their support of Eastern’s Agriculture Innovation program and their chief of staff, Norman Bailey for attending the showcase.