University of Minnesota Extension
 Menu  Menu

Extension > Youth Development > Minnesota 4-H > 4-H events > Science of ag challenge

Science of Agriculture Challenge

Find solutions to real ag-related issues in your community

This is a hands-on learning experience to inspire the next generation of agriculture leaders in Minnesota. Youth teams will partner with local expert mentors to develop science-based responses to agriculture-related issues they have identified in their communities.

Youth can explore issues in the areas of agronomy, animal husbandry, soil science, ag business, rural finance, food science, engineering and more. Youth are encouraged to be creative in exploring and developing solutions.

4-H Science of Agriculture Challenge: Bee Team

The 4-H Bee Team is one of 15 4-H Science of Agriculture Challenge teams of youth across Minnesota working with local experts to identify ag-related issues in their communities and develop science-based solutions.
The 4-H Biodiesel Team is one of 15 4-H Science of Agriculture Challenge teams of youth across Minnesota working with local experts to identify ag-related issues in their communities and develop science-based solutions.
The 4-H Topsoil Team is one of 20 4-H Science of Agriculture Challenge teams across Minnesota working with local experts to identify issues in their communities and develop science-based solutions.
The Washington County 4-H Bee Team's Justin explains their research on the overwintering of bees.

This great video was created by the Nicollet County 4-H Science of Agriculture team about their research on the public perception of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

4-H and the Science of Agriculture Challenge

3 Bee keepers in suits

(May 2015, Source) Sixteen-year-old Justin Weeldreyer always thought bees were the coolest miracles of nature, living off the honey they make and building intricate hives. He put his interest to work by conducting research with four other Washington County 4-H youth as part of the new 4-H Science of Agriculture Challenge.

"Overwintering is a big problem for Minnesota beekeepers," says Justin. "Big producers pack up and send their hives someplace warm, but smaller businesses and hobbyists can't afford that and just hope their bees survive."

Read the full story.

youth and mentor measuring

Who can participate?

Teams may include 3-4 youth, grades 6 and above (current and new 4-H'ers). Volunteers, coaches, coordinators and mentors will play an important role in the teams' planning and execution.

Teams can be cross-county. Teams will work together starting in autumn 2015 and make formal presentations at regional events, April 2016 and then at the state event on the St. Paul campus in June 2016. Each member of the top three teams will receive a university scholarship of $500 - $1,000.

Important Dates:

  • November 15, 2015 - Initial Team Registration Deadline
  • April 15, 2016 - Final Registration Deadline
  • April 23, 2016 - Regional Showcase Events (participation required)
  • June 21-23, 2016 - State Science of Agriculture Challenge Contest

Minnesota 4-H Science of Agriculture Research Grant

Science of Agriculture Research Grants fund worthy youth research projects associated with the Minnesota 4-H Science of Agriculture program. $25,000 has been allotted to this year's grants, with a limit of $5,000 for each Minnesota 4-H region.


Research projects must be conducted by a team of youth enrolled in the Minnesota 4-H Science of Agriculture program under the mentorship of a screened volunteer or staff mentor. The maximum grant award per team is $300. Multiple proposals from the same Minnesota 4-H county will be considered and are encouraged.

Disclaimer: Grant recipients must participate in the Science of Agriculture statewide event in June 2016. Failure to participate will necessitate the team returning all awarded funds.

Funding priorities

Proposals that meet the following criteria will be prioritized by the selection committee.

  • Uses the 8 steps of engineering design process to address identified agricultural issue
  • Clear description of how identified agricultural issue is impacting community
  • Intentional partnership with an agriculture business and/or industry mentor
  • Strong potential for youth to gain 21st century skills* and explore agricultural careers while conducting research

* Include, but are not limited to, communicate effectively, build connections, positive choices, and make contributions

Funding timeline

  • Dec. 1 - 31, 2015: Applications accepted
  • Feb. 1, 2016: Awards announced & funds available
  • June 7, 2016: Grant evaluations due

Proposal process

Applications received after Dec. 31 may not be considered. Please submit applications to:

Minnesota 4-H Foundation Helping Hands Grants
9 Coffey Hall
1420 Eckles Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55108


Please direct questions about Science of Agriculture Research Grants to Erin Kelly-Collins at the Minnesota 4-H Foundation (612-624-7667).


Joshua E. Rice, Ph.D.
Assistant Extension professor, science of agriculture

All resources on this page have been reviewed by our faculty and included for their educational value. No endorsement is intended or implied. Minnesota 4-H does not profit from the inclusion of any commercial project resources.

  • © 2016 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
  • The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer. Privacy