Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Back to Skool

So last week I had a chance to impart some of my wisdom (well that may be a stretch) into the brains of a bunch of high school sophomores.  It was at Grand Ledge High School which is in the town where I live.  I had known the chemistry teacher there for awhile, and always wanted to give a presentation about farming and soil chemistry.  As ag professionals, we are called to try and bridge the gap between the ag and non-ag public.  And these days that bridge is pretty long.  So I was able to work my way into guest lecturer status for three beginning chemistry classes before 75 or so kids.  In the picture above I am giving a brief company introduction, but I did not get into products.  Instead I wanted to show how the soil is full of chemical reactions necessary for life.  Reactions are both chemical and biological (like N-fixing bacteria and soybeans).  It all starts with charges on clay, nutrient exchange and forms of nutrients absorbed by plants.  There is no difference in forms absorbed whether from organic or manufactured fertilizer.  And since fertilizer nutrients come from the air and ground, farming is the ultimate in recycling as nutrients are returned to the ground for use by plants.  I also showed nutrient deficiencies, farmer decisions to be made, careers in agriculture (like the constant joy of being a research manager) and showed the IQ Hub and invited them to stop by.  I also delved into the fun subject of GMO crops. Well somebody had too.  It was all good, but hopefully most of these young minds will be guided by science and not emotion.  In all things. That goes for you too.  By the way, teaching is hard.  Imagine coming up with a lesson plan each day, repeating it several times in a row, and keeping the kids engaged.  Plus the lunch time of 10:30 would be tough to get used to.