‘Land Lab’ Gives Deforest Students Real Life Agri-Business Experience


DeForest Times Tribune: The DeForest Area School District’s Land Lab is an integral part of both the high school’s agricultural science and Future Farmers of America (FFA) programs. On July 10, two students who participated in last year’s growing season presented to the Board of Education about their agri-business experience.

The Land Lab is a 68-acre plot east of Windsor Elementary School and lying between Gray and Windsor Roads. Each summer, students plan and then implement the planting, scouting, marketing and harvesting on the district’s test plot. Land Lab is designed to provide students with hands-on learning in agronomy, soil science and agriculture sustainability. According to Gwen Boettcher, agriculture teacher and FFA advisor, about 16 students were involved in the project during the 2016 growing season.

Participants Zach Mickelson and Reagan Schwoerer reported to the board that 15 acres of corn and 35 acres of soybeans were planted last May. They described how students met weekly throughout the summer to discuss marketing strategies. They also visited the fields to evaluate crop health and growth.

Mickelson and Schwoerer reported the soybean harvest brought an average yield of about 60 bushels an acre. The poor corn yield of about 993 bushels per acre was attributed to a mix-up when a nitrogen application was ordered, but not applied.

On the plus side, the 2016 crop generated a net income of $20,284. They presented a check to Board President Jan Berg for the district’s portion of the profits.

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