Philip Barbour earns top honors in statewide Student Agriculture Innovation Challenge

Philip Barbour High captured the Outstanding School Award and four of six individual prizes – including the grand championship – during the 2021 West Virginia Student Agriculture Innovation Challenge.

Sponsored by the Robert C. Byrd Institute (RCBI) at Marshall University, Eastern West Virginia Community & Technical College, the West Virginia Department of Education and the West Virginia Department of Agriculture, the yearly statewide competition recognizes the innovative ideas of middle and high school students for improving agricultural production and processes in the Mountain State.

Alexis Ervin of Philip Barbour was crowned Grand Champion for her Bluetooth Creep Feeder, a phone app and monitoring system that allows farmers to remotely monitor feed levels and control the amount released to livestock.

“As our winners demonstrate, young minds bring fresh perspectives to age-old issues,” said Charlotte Weber, RCBI director & CEO. “This challenge is a great opportunity for students to apply problem-solving and critical-thinking skills as they develop real-world solutions.”

Other individual award winners are:

  • Second Place ($200 cash): Kennedy Fisher and Xavier Keller of Barboursville Middle School for their Powerful Plant Protection system that uses sound and light to prevent animals of all sizes from destroying crops
  • Third Place ($150 cash): Cody Mitchell of Petersburg High School for his social media platform for agriculturists that allows them to share best practices and filter content to their particular interests
  • Fourth Place ($100 cash) : Alexander Williams of Philip Barbour for a digital water valve and related app that enables farmers to remotely deliver water to livestock at specific times of day and in specific amounts
  • Fifth Place: ($75 cash) Jessica Findley and Alexander Williams of Philip Barbour for their hydraulic system to raise and lower beehives to make it easier for apiarists to check the condition of their hives and bees
  • Sixth Place ($75 cash): Shanondeli Snyder of Philip Barbour for her social media app to educate younger people about agriculture and encourage them to consider careers in the field

Fisher and Keller of Barboursville Middle School also won the People’s Choice Award for their Powerful Plant Protection system. They will receive an iPad, $300 in cash and a $200 gift card as prizes. Philip Barbour will receive $500 in cash for taking home the School Championship Award.

To watch videos featuring all of the individual winners, visit https://www.mfg.marshall.edu/innovation2021/.

The West Virginia Student Agriculture Innovation Challenge is made possible through the financial support of the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation and the West Virginia Department of Agriculture.

Oct. 22, 2021

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