"I hope to learn more about how soybeans grow and how weather affects them," said high school senior Audreonna Taylor as she stood in a dimly lit equipment shed near Mexico, Mo., on a drizzly day.
Taylor is the daughter of a second-generation farmer with a 1,000-acre row crop operation, but said she is relatively unfamiliar with soybeans.
"We've planted some soybeans in the past, but he mostly plants corn and wheat," she said.
Taylor was one of 14 FFA members who took part in a Sept. 14 "Pod Patrol" event, led by soybean farmer Dan Pehle and Asgrow agronomist Susan Brakhane.
Brakhane said the focus of the day would, in fact, be on getting higher yields from soybeans, and how weather plays a role in that. As the four teams of FFA members prepared to go out into the field and scout, she asked the students to keep an eye out for four-bean pods and insect feeding as well as examining overall plant health.
Doug Mertens, territory sales manager for Monsanto, said the goal of the event was to spark an interest in young people about agriculture and the impact new technology can have on the industry.
Before long, the students were tramping throughout the damp bean field, ducking down, examining plants, snapping pictures and asking questions.
"They're the future of this industry," Mertens said.
Asgrow agronomist Susan Brakhane and Monsanto sales manager Doug Mertens set up soybean samples for the FFA "Pod Patrol" event.