Agricultural Innovation Showcase takes place at MU
HUNTINGTON — Agricultural innovations and technology were on display as the Robert C. Byrd Institute (RCBI) and a group of statewide partners presented the fourth annual West Virginia Agricultural Innovation Showcase on Thursday on the campus of Marshall University in Huntington.
The free event took place in the Don Morris Room of the Marshall University Memorial Student Center and focused on emerging technologies and best practices in agriculture.
“Farmers, educators and students from across the state participated,” said Bill Woodrum, coordinator of RCBI’s Agricultural Innovations initiative.
Category winners of the West Virginia Agriculture Technology & Innovation Student Competition were honored.
Individual winners included Trenton Brady and Sage Bloom, both from Clay County High School, who took first place for Plant Systems; Garrett Davis and Ben Hinkle, both from South Harrison High School, who took first place for Animal Systems; Caleb Hamner and Spencer Vaught, both from Buckhannon-Upshur High School, who took first place for Environmental and Natural Resources; Lauren Quick, from Greenbrier East High School, who took first place for Power, Structural and Technical; Jaydin Cogar, from Clay County High School, who took first place for Food Products and Processing; and Tiersa Helvey, Kiah Hill, Zach Ellis and Grace Sealey, all from Greenbrier East High School, who took first place in Agribusiness Systems.
Quick was named the grand champion. She will receive $500 as grand champion and $100 as category winner, as well as business and technical assistance from RCBI to develop her product and bring it to market, officials said.
RCBI reported a record 132 entries were received for this year’s competition.
The event also featured breakout sessions on entrepreneurial technology and the RCBI Maker Vault; Beefing Up Appalachia with Unlimited Future; farmers market updates; the West Virginia Carrot Project with the West Virginia National Guard; Lean Ag with RCBI Lean Ag specialist Evan Nelson; Ag Tech and Soil Science; and the Turnrow Appalachian Farm Collective.
Joining RCBI in this annual effort to promote agricultural technology and spur innovation are the West Virginia Department of Education, the West Virginia Department of Agriculture and Eastern West Virginia Community & Technical College.