Agriculture Press Release

September 19, 1998

'Planet Ag Helps Students Explore the World
of Agricultural Science

TALLAHASSEE Its the time of year that strikes anxiety in the hearts of many students and their parents as many middle and high school students begin their annual search for ideas for their science fair projects.

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Bob Crawford is encouraging students to explore the world of agricultural science when considering topics for their projects. To help them, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services developed "Planet Ag," an Internet web site packed with information to assist students in selecting a topic and carrying out their science fair project.

"As a father of two, I know first-hand what students go through in getting started on their science fair projects," Crawford said. "As the new school year gets under way, many students are receiving their science fair assignments and wondering, Now, how do I get started? "

Planet Ag provides students with an explanation of the scientific method, from choosing a topic and stating a hypothesis, to deciding on a procedure and recording the results. The web site also provides a sample project for students to review, a look at previous winners projects, and links to other agriculture- and science-related sites.

Among the hundreds of science fair project ideas featured at Planet Ag are:

  • How are seeds and seedlings affected by gravity?
  • How can a seedless watermelon be grown from seed?
  • How are molds and bacteria used to enhance the flavor of some foods?
  • How is the nutritional value of foods determined?

Planet Ag also provides an overview of the importance of agriculture to Florida, and examines many interesting career possibilities in agricultural science including biochemist, marine scientist, plant pathologist, forester, and agricultural economist and offers suggestions to students on courses to take in high school and college.

"Agriculture has evolved into a high-tech industry that will require talented, scientifically inclined people to guide it into the next millennium," Crawford said. "We need to encourage todays bright young students to become interested in agriculture and excited about its role in our planets future. This web site allows students to explore the world of agricultural science and will cause them to think about agriculture in new and exciting ways."

Planet Ag is accessed on the Internet at www.fl-ag.com/PlanetAg .

Theres an added incentive for students to consider an agricultural topic for their science fair project. Crawford will present a $1,000 savings bond each to one middle school student and one high school student whose agricultural projects are selected as winners during the State Science and Engineering Fair of Florida competition to be held April 7-9, 1999, at the University of Central Florida in Orlando.

Agricultural project winners at the 43rd Annual State Science and Engineering Fair of Florida competition last April in Lakeland were: Gino Cheng, of Stanton College Preparatory School in Jacksonville, senior classification; and Yan Zhong of Vero Beach, junior classification.

The State Science and Engineering Fair of Florida is a three-day display of science project exhibits prepared by aspiring scientists and engineers in grades six through 12 from throughout the state. The fair is administered by the Florida Foundation for Future Scientists, which promotes activities that encourage young people to pursue careers in science, engineering and research. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is among numerous government agencies, businesses and organizations that contribute awards for the fair.


For more information:

Liz Compton
Terence McElroy
(850) 488-3022

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