Local FFA students participate in invention competition

May 7—ANDERSON — Populations are reportedly rising in the United States, bringing an increasing demand for food produced via agriculture. As a result, innovation is needed.

However, before doing so, people need to be educated on the importance of agriculture.

Seven teams representing Future Farmers of America groups from all over Indiana gathered in the Maker's Playground at Hub and Spoke, an innovations center in Fishers, to help do just that.

However, there was a catch — They had 48 hours to do it.

"We've given them a design criteria challenge to build a physical prototype and build interactive agricultural displays to show the positive aspect of agriculture in the community and as a career," said Tom Gray, co-founder and CEO of Make48, the organization hosting the competition.

The Mud Flaps, a team of four from Frankton Junior/Senior High School, created a prototype on Friday afternoon by which folks could learn about the different types of soil native to Indiana and what sorts of plants grow there.

Before proceeding, each team took time to design and plan their educational devices before presenting them to patent attorney Amy Berg.

Berg discussed the various pitfalls each group could fall into with patents and trademarks.

The Mud Flaps wanted to use educational materials to provide descriptions of how plants grow. Berg told them to carefully cite any education material they use to avoid any legal action.

Their plans were given the green light and from there it was on to the next step — building the device.

Master builders were brought in to fabricate each piece.

Each of the projects' components, including a 1-minute video, were presented the judges Sunday afternoon.

Results are currently unavailable as each team signed a non-disclosure agreement. They should be made public soon, according to Stacy Wainscott, Frankton's FFA advisor.

Final results will be released online by May 8.

The Make48 competition will be featured on the This Old House Network within four to six months and later on YouTube.

These competitions may become an annual event for FFA. Representatives for the national FFA walked around the competition floor to see if Make48 competitions were a viable option.

"Career-based, interactive, solving problems, team-based events," said Will Waidelich, who represents the awards and recognition team, relaying their criteria.

Waidelich and his cohort Carol Herl said the competition met the above criteria, though a final decision has yet to be made.

Follow Caleb Amick on Twitter @AmickCaleb. Contact him at caleb.amick@heraldbulletin.com or 765-648-4254.