Texas FFA News  
Corsicana FFA Member Embraces Agriscience Fair Opportunities to Make an Impact    
Tuesday, April 30, 2024 | Author: Texas FFA News

Corsicana FFA member, Sara Beck, has embraced the opportunities offered by agriscience fair to research a problem related to agriculture, conduct an agriculture based scientific experiment over this problem, and report results.

The first project was an analysis of fat percentage during the finishing phase of market broiler production.

Beck has shown market poultry since she was in third grade. At several points throughout her livestock show career, judges mentioned her poultry had soft breast meat, a sign of too much fat during the finishing phase. This hurdle led the Texas FFA member to begin researching solutions to the issue. However, she found it was difficult to find relevant information on the topic. 

“I planned and conducted an experiment to measure the fat percentages in various feed mixtures with added fat used during the finishing phase of market broiler production,” Beck said. 

To conduct the experiment, Beck mixed various fat sources with poultry finishing feed and administered it to her broilers. She would take the same mixture and record its weight. 

“My goal was to analyze and apply information from a feed label, and I determined that the finishing pellets I use contain six percent fat and are fed with an unlimited supply to the broilers,” Beck said.

Beck said her research has not only been beneficial to her market poultry projects, but also the agriculture industry. Prior to her agriscience fair project, it was difficult to find information on over finishing of breast meat.

After the success of her first exploration, she quickly realized her passion for agriscience, and jumped into her next experiment. 

Beck’s second project was an analysis of the addition of fruit peels and rinds to increase water 
retention in soil. 

A problem arose when Texas experienced a major drought in 2022 where farmers suffered as crops failed to grow and mature because of a lack of water.

“The purpose of this project was to investigate the addition of various fruit peels and rinds to soil used in the production of agricultural products to analyze water retention in soil,” said Beck. 

The procedural method included the use of two averaged trials for each soil additive mixture that contained the dried fruit peels and rinds and for the control. Weights of soil mixtures in cups were taken before water was added and then allowed to strain. Weights of the soil mixtures in cups were then taken again for each.

“The significance of this project is meaningful to the agriculture industry because these soil additives can potentially help crops survive a drought,” said Beck. “I shared the results of my project this year with the local farmer who had planted the corn in the fields where I observed the issue the drought had caused on the plants.”

Becks's successful SAE project was recognized as the Star Greenhand in Agriscience at the 2022 Texas FFA State Convention and the Star Chapter in Agriscience at the 2023 Texas FFA State Convention.

Article updated to highlight students' new successes from original Texas FFA News post on 11/15/2022.

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