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Special feature from the  Farm Outlook Fall 2012  magazine

Troy Rawlings takes the Clover Challenge

By Nila Smith

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[November 03, 2012]  This year 16-year-old Troy Rawlings has been participating in a program offered through the 4-H Foundation and sponsored by DuPont Pioneer and the American Soybean Association. In the Clover Challenge, Rawlings is hoping to earn a $500 grant from the American Soybean Association.

Qualifying for the challenge is the first daunting task for participants. In order to be considered, they must apply for the grant.

In the grant application they agree to choose a mentor who is not a parent or family member. They also have to write and submit a plan on how they will complete their challenge project, make a commitment to spend a certain number of hours per month working on the project, and use a minimum of two different methods to communicate their findings with the public.

In addition, with their application they have to submit written answers to eight questions:

  • Summarize your 4-H or small grain accomplishments.

  • Provide information on the breadth and scope of the 4-H project that applies to the grant.

  • List your public presentation experience.

  • Provide information on experience with electronic presentation tools (PowerPoint, Facebook, YouTube, etc.).

  • List any experience in designing educational and presentation materials (brochures, etc.).

  • What current ideas do you have for this project grant opportunity?

  • What are your education plans and career goals? In what way do you see this grant helping you to achieve any of those goals?

  • What else should we know about you when considering your grant application?

In August, at the Logan County Fair, Rawlings approached Lincoln Daily News and talked about one of the requirements for his project: sharing his findings with the public. Rawlings asked if LDN would help in this area by publishing his article in one of our daily editions.

LDN discussed the project with Rawlings and his mom, Tracey. We immediately knew that we would want to feature the article in our fall farm special edition, but were concerned about time limits for the project. Rawlings and his mom assured us that waiting for this special feature would be OK.

By putting it in the fall feature, it is easily printed on regular letter-sized paper so Rawlings will be able to print the article and include it in his final project submission.

Rawlings said he chose to do his project on genetically modified organisms because, living in the New Holland area, he was in close proximity to the Monsanto production plant in Mason City.

He took a tour of that plant and talked to people there about genetic advances in the soybean industries. He also used several Internet sources to supplement his research.

In August, he submitted his project at the Logan County Fair, and it did very well. It was then submitted at the Illinois State Fair, and it did well there also.

The next step for Rawlings was to submit what he had done thus far to the challenge program. He did that right after the state fair.

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On Oct. 12 Rawlings stopped by the LDN offices to offer an update on where he is on meeting the challenge.

The purpose of the challenge is to help young 4-H'ers learn how to take a topic and dig deeper, learn more and achieve more with their work.

Rawlings said his first submission to the Clover Challenge has been through the review process and has come back to him with notes on where he could and should dig deeper into his research.

Rawlings said he would be returning to the Monsanto plant. He had plans to interview specific people and add the information from those interviews to his research papers.

In regard to the article he'd written, he said it was sufficient and is now ready for publication.

Rawlings is the son of Dave and Tracey Rawlings of New Holland. He is a junior at Lincoln Community High School and is active in FFA as well as 4-H.

His dad is the owner of Rawlings Trailer Sales, and mom works at Cha-Dai Pet Motel.

Tracey has been actively involved in 4-H since her youth, and Dave is responsible for spearheading the effort to raise funds for Logan County 4-H premiums two years ago when the state cut its funding to the programs.

In addition, Troy's grandfather is Lynn Miller, who at the 2011 Logan County Fair was recognized for his lifelong dedication to 4-H.

Lincoln Daily News is a strong supporter of 4-H. We believe that the young people who participate in 4-H projects -- whether it be art, cooking, crop production, livestock or any one of the dozens of other courses of study offered -- learn more, do more and become more successful in their adult careers.

Rawlings has until July of 2013 to submit the perfect research project for the Clover Challenge.

LDN wishes him well and is proud to be a part of his work. The story to follow is Troy's and, as required, has not been altered by LDN. (See article.)


Be sure to check out all the articles
in the Farm Outlook Fall 2012 magazine:

  • 2012 in review

  • Yields: Complicated by aflatoxin

  • Hybrids saved us

  • Insurance claims in drought

  • Impact of drought on ag loans

  • Droughts: 1988 vs. 2012

  • Roundup: A view from all sides

  • How were the farmers markets affected?

  • Introduction: Troy Rawlings

    • Troy Rawlings: Benefits of GMOs

  • An optimistic outlook


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