WV Ag Showcase Competition Winner Announced

Philippi, WV - Luke Farnsworth, of Philip Barbour High School, was announced as the winner of the 2019 WV Agriculture Technology and Innovation Student Competition. The annual competition, which marked its third year, is co-hosted by the WV Department of Agriculture, the WV Department of Education, the Robert C. Byrd Institute at Marshall University (RCBI), and Eastern WV Community and Technical College.

The WV Ag Innovation Showcase, a two-day, multi-site event, gives students the chance to network with specialists working in the field and share their creative ideas related to solving challenges in agriculture. During the recent showcase, participating students were able to attend educational sessions presented by representatives from various organizations, including WVU Extension, the Farm Credit Knowledge Center, Quicken Farm, the Pilgrim's Pride Corporation, the Potomac Highlands Beekeepers Association, and more. Additionally, students were invited to participate in the Technology and Innovation Student Competition, which gave chosen applicants a chance to explain their original proposals to advance agriculture and a chance to earn cash prizes.

"The competition committee was thrilled to receive over 100 proposals from students throughout the state this year," stated Sarah Cross, Director of Agriculture Innovation at Eastern. For each proposal, students were asked to categorize their entry into one of the six secondary programs of study content skill sets the WV Department of Education recommends for students studying agriculture. After the submission period ended, panels of pre-selected judges chose the top 5 proposals from each category. Then, the selected students were asked to give a 3-5-minute pitch on their proposals at the first day of 2019 WV Ag Innovation Showcase, in Moorefield, this past November.

After this showcase session, a category winner from each pathway was recognized and presented with $100 in reward funds. These six students would later compete at the final 2019 WV Ag Innovation Showcase session in Huntington, in December. To prepare for this showcase session, each category winner would present their improved proposal, taking the feedback from previous judges into consideration.

Luke Farnsworth, of Philip Barbour High School, the Power, Structural, & Technical Systems pathway proposal winner, won the competition, receiving $500 in prize money. Luke's innovative idea regarding a weather dependent automated high tunnel system has great potential to positively impact the field of agriculture. Representatives from the RCBI and the WV Small Business Development Center will be working with Luke to investigate the possibility of making his idea a reality.

The event, which was co-hosted by the WV Department of Agriculture, the WV Department of Education, RCBI, and Eastern WVCTC was made possible through the tremendous support of various community-based organizations, including local businesses, the National FFA Organization, and an array of WV school districts. It was primarily funded through the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation and the WV Department of Agriculture sponsored the cash prizes for the student competition.   For more information regarding the WV Ag Innovation Showcase, please contact Sarah Cross, at sarah.cross@easternwv.edu or (304) 434-8000 ext. 9233.

Photo Caption: Dr. Megan Webb, Dean of Advancement and Innovation at Eastern WVCTC, is pictured with Luke Farnsworth, winner of the 2019 WV Agriculture Technology and Innovation Student Competition.

Additional Winners:
Charity Coleman - $50
Clay County High School
Agribusiness Systems
 
Shayna Bennett - $50
Clay County High School
Agribusiness Systems
 
Katie Nolan $100
Buckhannon-Upshur High School
Animal Systems
 
Tyler Lough $33.33
Clay County High School
Environmental & Natural Resources
 
Brennen Humphrey $33.33
Clay County High School
Environmental & Natural Resources
 
Joseph Tanner $33.33
Clay County High School
Environmental & Natural Resources 
 
Savanna Garrison $100
Sherrard Middle School
Food Products & Processing Systems
 
Kyndra Spotloe $50
Buckhannon-Upshur High School
Plant Systems
 
Ashlee Huffman $50
Buckhannon-Upshur High School
Plant Systems
 
Luke Farnsworth $100
Philip Barbour High School
Power, Structure & Technical Systems

 

For more information about the West Virginia Invest Program, visit www.wvinvests.org or contact Charles "Chip" Bolyard at Eastern West Virginia Community and Technical College - 304-434-8000 / charles.bolyard@easternwv.edu
 
For more information about the degree and certificate learning opportunities at Eastern West Virginia Community and Technical College, visit www.easternwv.edu. Registration for the Summer 2020 semester begins April 1st. Summer classes start on May 18th.