From Harford County Public Schools:
North Harford High School’s Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences Magnet Program was recently selected to receive a $10,000.00 grant for hydroponics in Harford County through America’s Farmers Grow Rural EducationSM, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund. Farmers in the North Harford area nominated the school to receive this grant. After the application was submitted, it was reviewed first by math and science teachers from ineligible school districts and then by the America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education Advisory Council, a group of 26 prominent farmers from across the country. The Advisory Council was impressed with the school’s dedication to its students and its innovative ideas for improving their educational experiences.
The grant will be used to purchase a hydroponic forage growing system. The goal is to increase hydroponic growing and to investigate the benefits of hydroponic forage as it relates to nutrition and cost of production. The system will provide forage for the 10 animals that reside year round on the North Harford High campus. The school will use a practice that follows work being done in the Middle East and Australia where water is the limiting factor for forage production. North Harford’s limiting factor is not water, but space, since they lost their campus production areas to storm water management. In addition, they will be looking at the ability to pelletize the forage so that they can produce in larger quantities and either sell or store the forage.
The school’s general agriculture population and its Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences Magnet Program students will benefit equally. In addition to providing the students with new technologies that serve many purposes, the school is investigating a system that its students who own farms may be able to purchase and utilize on their own personal operations. The educational value of this grant is superb, and provides North Harford High School with an opportunity to utilize the technology in many ways.
The school is very fortunate to have great support from the agricultural community. The support shown with the nomination for this grant is just one example of the endless support and in-kind services provided by the Harford County agricultural community. In addition, the nomination highlights the foresight shown by the agricultural community to address niche industries and the role innovative technology plays in sustainable agriculture. The students, faculty and administration are extremely grateful for the support given to the programs at North Harford High School by the local and state agricultural community.