Statewide agriculture competition to reward student innovation

The Robert C. Byrd Institute (RCBI) and a statewide group of partners announce the fourth-annual Student Ag Innovation Challenge to encourage problem-solving and innovation among West Virginia students interested in agriculture.

Students in grades seven through 12 are eligible to compete for cash prizes including a $500 grand prize. The competition emphasizes solving an agriculture issue in one of six focus areas: agribusiness systems; animal systems; environmental and natural resources management; food products and processing systems; plant systems; and power, structural and technical systems.

The student ag challenge is the centerpiece of the West Virginia Agricultural Innovation Showcase, presented annually by RCBI, the West Virginia Department of Agriculture, the West Virginia Department of Education and Eastern West Virginia Community and Technical College.

“Because of the new format this year, we’re able to offer additional agricultural training to students through distance learning, with skill-building workshops leading up to the Feb. 24 showcase,” said Bill Woodrum, RCBI director of entrepreneurship and agricultural innovation.

The 2021 Showcase will feature a series of free Agcellerator Master Classes to inspire students and help them prepare their entries for the challenge:

  • Jan. 7: The Importance of Innovation in West Virginia Agriculture provides an introduction to this year’s competition and teaches how to scale national outcomes from your own backyard.
  • Jan. 14: Innovating for Success focuses on how to prepare your innovation for competition and presents an introduction to this year’s judging criteria.
  • Jan. 21: Bringing It All Together offers guidance for preparing a successful video submission to this year’s competition.

Students can register for the free Agcellerator Master Classes and sign up for the challenge at www.wvmakes.com/agshowcase. Students must submit videos explaining their innovations by Feb. 15. Winners will be announced February 24 during a virtual live event.

For more information, contact Woodrum at or 304.781.1670.

These events are made possible through the financial support of the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation.

Other News

View All News

Robotics, drone teams to battle in Huntington

Teams from across West Virginia and beyond will battle it out by land and by air during two days of robotics competitions hosted by the Robert C. Byrd Institute (RCBI) at Marshall University. On Dec. 3, RCBI will host the Marshall University VEX IQ Robotics Qualifier...

read more

Veteran hopes minority-owned business inspires others

Milford Zeigler Jr. wasn’t looking to start his own business. The Charleston resident already had retired more than once. Interwoven with a career in the private sector was more than 20 years of military service, including stints as a gunner with the First Cavalry...

read more

Women excel in RCBI welding program

You may be aware of the significant contributions of Rosie the Riveters, but you may not know that during World War II, working alongside Rosies in factories, shipyards and munitions plants was another essential group of women: Wendy the Welders. In fact, during...

read more

New machining, welding classes begin in January

Individuals looking to start their career journeys or train for jobs in the in-demand fields of machining and welding don’t have to wait until fall 2023 to get started. The Robert C. Byrd Institute (RCBI)’s nationally recognized Machinist Technology/CNC and Welding...

read more