UACES Facebook Virtual field trip brings science behind soybeans from farms to high schools
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Virtual field trip brings science behind soybeans from farms to high schools

September. 25, 2014

Editors: There are seats available for reporters who would like to log in and watch the virtual field day as it happens. For connecting information, contact Mary Hightower no later than noon, Monday, Sept. 29. Participating reporters will need to download software to participate.

Fast facts

  • Sept. 30 Soybean Science Challenge brings live science lesson science and agriculture classes around the state
  • 14 schools, Virtual Arkansas registered as participants

(380 words)

LITTLE ROCK -- There’s a lot of science that goes into keeping the world fed and more than a dozen schools and nearly 400 students are registered to take part in a virtual field tour to introduce young scientists to the research that goes into agriculture.

On Sept. 30, the Soybean Science Challenge will bring a live, interactive lesson on agroscience starting at 9:35 a.m. and ending at 10:15 a.m. The lesson is being broadcast live from Bono, Arkansas, in Craighead County, from the farm of Shannon Davis.

The challenge is being produced by the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service. Hosts for the lesson include Davis and Terry Kirkpatrick, extension nematologist for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.

“Growing food is a far more complex process than simply putting a seed in the ground,” said Karen Ballard, project manager for the Soybean Science Challenge and professor-program and staff development for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. “We want to open a new horizon for young scientists and introduce them to the research possibilities that exist in the work of food production.”

“Many students considering careers in science, medicine or engineering don’t even give agriculture a second thought,” she said. “However, research in the business of growing and processing food has produced breakthroughs in other areas including the automotive, energy and health industries.”

The virtual field trip will focus on nematode parasites and their impact on soybeans.  

Schools participating in the virtual field trip are statewide digital course provider Virtual Arkansas and:

  • Alma High School in Crawford County
  • Alpena High School in Boone County
  • Arkansas School of Mathematics, Science & Arts in Garland County
  • Armorel High School in Mississippi County
  • Avilla Christian Academy in Saline County
  • Caddo Hills High School in Montgomery County
  • Gentry High School in Benton County
  • Little Rock Central High in Pulaski County
  • Mansfield High School in Sebastian County
  • Mountain Home High School, Baxter County
  • Joe T. Robinson High School in Pulaski County
  • (Springdale) Hellstern Middle School, Washington County
  • Taylor High School, Columbia County
  • Westside Consolidated School District in Craighead County

The broadcast is funded by a grant from the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board, of which Davis is a member.

For more information about soybean production, contact your county extension office or visit or

The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

By Mary Hightower
U of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Mary Hightower
Dir. of Communication Services
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
(501) 671-2126

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