More than 1,000 Missouri youths take part in 4-H Aerial Ag Challenge

  • Published: Thursday, Aug. 10, 2023

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Across Missouri, 1,163 youths participated in the 2023 4-H Ag Innovators Experience Aerial Ag Challenge.

Twenty-two 4-H teen leaders spent the summer teaching others to apply critical-thinking skills to solve a real-world agriculture challenge, using line-following robots to show how drones can aid in precision agriculture, said Maria Calvert, state 4-H agriculture educator.

Calvert said this year’s challenge focused on how precision agricultural practices applied with drones are helping farmers enhance crop yields, sustain world food systems and be better environmental stewards; how data science and technology tools help producers make real-time decisions; and how advances in agricultural technology are critical to finding long-term solutions for climate change, world hunger and viable diverse ecosystems.

Teen leaders shared that they “learned about the plethora of career opportunities working with drones in agriculture, creating a place in the industry for those who may not initially think they are interested” and that “agriculture is constantly changing and testing new technologies to help improve crop yield and sustainability.”

The 4-H Ag Innovator teen leaders also got to meet with 4-H members from Honduras. During the experience, teens presented information on drone technology, led the visiting youths through the activity and answered their questions about 4-H in Missouri and life as a teenager in the U.S.

The 4-H Ag Innovators Experience, presented by National 4-H Council and Bayer, challenges youths to use STEM skills to solve a real-world issue and drives youth awareness of agriculture innovation and careers in agriculture. Youths in Iowa, Indiana, Nebraska, Ohio and Missouri participated in the Aerial Ag Challenge throughout the spring and summer.

About 4-H

More than 50,000 members strong, Missouri 4-H is an active, dynamic organization of young people who are learning, growing and preparing to be the leaders of today and tomorrow – making a real difference in their community, country and world. 4-H is the youth development program of the University of Missouri and the nation’s Cooperative Extension System.  For more information on Missouri 4-H, visit
A Missouri 4-H teen leader presents this year’s Ag Innovators Experience activity to a group at a 4-H camp in central Missouri.

Writer: Maria Calvert

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Maria Calvert

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