Innovation and Entrepreneurship
The AgEnterprise Challenge was an initiative of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (AGNR) to promote innovation and entrepreneurship in agriculture, natural resources, and environmental sustainability. The program has now been reformatted to AGNR Discovery & Innovation Night.
AgEnterprise Challenge Information
The Ag sector has several opportunities and challenges that need to be explored and addressed. How do we repurpose former ag production facilities? How do we create value-added enterprises without a large startup capital? AGNR has partnered with MidAtlantic farm credit to explore some of the biggest challenges the agricultural sector currently faces. We believe that students have the potential to address these challenges. That is why we are inviting all students, regardless of major, background, or expertise, to come, learn, brainstorm, develop solutions, and make some cash while solving one of the biggest environmental challenges in the United States. There is no prerequisite to be a part of this challenge, just a willingness to do good for the environment and the world.
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In Fall 2020, the AgEnterprise program launched its second challenge event. The students were tasked with finding alternative uses for out-of-service poultry houses located in Maryland.
Most of these houses are either not being used or used as storage spaces, however, considering the huge capital investments on these houses, our students needed to develop innovative, income-generating ideas for farmers to consider as an alternative.
Some of the innovations that came up from this challenge included:
- Agro Plastic Recycling Plants, 1st Place
- Hydroponics Farm, 2nd place
- Aquaponics Farm, 3rd place
Other great ideas included growing mushroom and black Goji berries for farmers.
In Summer 2020, we held a competition for this distinct track to solve one of the greatest problems facing our generation. For a variety of reasons, the Chesapeake region is experiencing saltwater intrusion in our aquifer system. The barrier between the ocean/bay and our freshwater aquifer systems is semi-permeable. As the freshwater is drawn out of the aquifers for irrigation, drinking water, and other reasons, this creates a capillary effect that pulls saltwater into that underground void. First place went to the team, "A Greener Box For A Greener Planet," for their proposed system that turns harmful algae, caused by saltwater intrusion, into cardboard before it destroys the Chesapeake Bay. Second place went to "Saltwater Intrusion: A Composite Desalination Approach" and third place to "A Decision-Making Tool For Saltwater Intrusion In Maryland."
AgEnterprise Challenge 2020 Playlist
In the spirit of "the show must go on," students in the 2020 AgEnterprise Challenge pushed forward despite obstacles created by the COVID-19 pandemic.