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Agriculture Press Release
September 23, 2002
‘Planet Ag’ helps students develop science fair projects
TALLAHASSEE -- As many middle and high school students begin their annual search for science fair project ideas, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Charles H. Bronson is encouraging them to explore the world of agricultural science when considering topics.
To help students and teachers, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services developed "Planet Ag," an Internet web site containing information to assist students in selecting a topic and carrying out their science fair project.
"The future of our planet depends on agriculture," Bronson said. "That’s why it is important to get bright young people interested in agriculture and agricultural support occupations," Bronson said. "This web site allows students to explore the world of agricultural science and will enable them to think about food production in new and exciting ways."
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 many science fair project ideas featured at Planet Ag are:
How much energy is required to grow a ton of tomatoes or corn?
How does soil type affect what type of food will be grown in a certain area?
How do certain plants fix nitrogen into the soil?
What can be done to reduce corrosion of outdoor machinery?
How can soil erosion be reduced on cultivated land?
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 consider in high school and college.
Planet Ag is accessed on the Internet at florida-agriculture.com/PlanetAg .
There’s an added incentive for students to consider an agricultural topic for their science fair project. Bronson will present a $1,000 United States Savings Bond to the junior and senior division students whose agricultural projects are selected as winners during the 48th Annual State Science and Engineering Fair of Florida competition held April 9-11, 2003, in Jacksonville.
Last year’s winners were: Chelsea N. Newberry, of Sebastian River High School in Sebastian, who won a $1,000 bond for her Senior Division project, "A Naturally Elicited Crop Protection System;" and Yahya M. Mohammed, of C.W. Ruckel Middle School in Niceville, who received a $1,000 bond for his Junior Division project, "Pathogen Load in Fresh Seafood Naturally and Organically: A Giant Leap for Seafood Safety."
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 6 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.