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Waste to Worth

by Makinzie Parsons


Our own Plant Science/Agronomy class here at the high school has teamed up with a University of Nebraska-Lincoln multidisciplinary research team, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and the Lower Elkhorn NRD to complete a research project aimed at finding the benefits of combining cedar mulch and livestock manure to use as a soil amendment. This project started this fall and will end after multiple growing seasons. 

Livestock manure management and Easter RedCedar encroachment are issues around many parts of the state. Developing ways to utilize these for the benefit of soil health and farm profitability is the main goal of this research project . Mark Venticher, a junior said, “The way soil health impacts a real farm has given me an entirely different perspective on soil and its importance. The experience has made soil science more interesting by seeing research projects in action.” 

Pierce High School Agriculture Instructor and FFA Advisor, Matthew Neal, is very appreciative of the opportunity to be included in the project. “ Anytime there is a chance to provide students a hands-on experience in a “real world” setting; teachers need to recognize the opportunity and prepare a path for the students to be involved as much as possible '' he said. He also stated, “students seem to be more engaged with experiences like this, which only enhances critical thinking skills, social skills, science literacy, and also strengthens the interest of careers in agriculture.”

The students involved will have “hands-on” educational opportunities in soil sciences, natural resource conservation, animal manure management, and on-farm research design and implementation through the participation in this project.



Pierce Public Schools 201 N. Sunset St. Pierce, NE  68767

402.329.6217 Fax: 402.329.4678

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