Buckhannon-Upshur High School students winning the West Virginia Student Agriculture Innovation Challenge are recognized for their accomplishments Friday during an assembly at the school. The students each received $100 and a tabletop 3D printer. Winners were all sophomores and are Kaylin Walton, Elijah Bryant, Keldon Shiflett and Avery Starkey.

Automatic deer skinner, bird hunting app among inventions proffered at Agriculture Innovation Challenge

BUCKHANNON – Four Buckhannon-Upshur High School 10th-grade FFA Students were recognized Friday as winners in the West Virginia Student Agriculture Innovation Challenge.

The event is sponsored by the Robert C. Byrd Institute at Marshall University, Eastern West Virginia Community & Technical College and the West Virginia Departments of Agriculture and Education.

FFA students Kaylin Walton, Elijah Bryant, Keldon Shiflett and Avery Starkey were four of six finalists and each received $100 and a package of maker tools that included a desktop 3D printer.

Buckhannon-Upshur High School FFA Advisor and Agriculture Teacher Allyson Peters Lewis said each year, the innovation challenge allows students to enter their innovative ideas.

“They come up with ideas that would make agriculture better, stronger and faster,” Lewis said. “This can deal with animals, plants or machines – agribusiness. They fill out the paperwork and tell what the problem is and what their solution is and how it works. This year, they added a video component, so each participant did a commercial for their product.”

Lewis said this year, there were several students who were in the finals.

“We have been very successful,” Lewis said. “All of the students get to go to Moorefield for a conference and the finalists get to go to Marshall University. This year, lots of the components were virtual due to the pandemic.”

Keldon Shiflett said his idea was to create an automatic deer skinner.

“You would hook it to their hide,” Keldon said. “This would help folks, especially the older hunters in the state. My grandfather has back problems and this would help him skin his deer.”

Keldon said he does not have plans to market his invention at this time, but it’s just something he thought would help others. Keldon said he is working toward a career as a diesel mechanic and plans to attend the Fred Eberle Technical Center for training.

Kaylin Walton said her innovative idea was a mat that goes around trees.

“At my house, we had a tree that was over the house and it would drop acorns,” Kaylin said. “This mat collects the acorns, leaves and small twigs. It helps cut down on falls by elderly folks and keeps homeowners from having to rake up the debris.”

Kaylin said as of right now, she is not sure where her career path will take her in the future.

Elijah Bryant said his project was a bird finding app. Elijah said at this time he has no plans to produce and sell this app.

“It is just for me and includes wild game birds,” Elijah said. “I can put in when I find them nesting and roosting at night. This helps me remember where all of their nests are and where all of the good hunting spots will be.”

Elijah said in the future, he hopes to attend the Fred Eberle Technical Center to train to be an electrician.

Avery Starkey said his innovative invention was a thermal imaging unit that picks up heat from the pads of animals passing by.

“It picks up the heat and tells you what kind of animal passed through there, whether it be a deer, a grouse or a bear,” Avery said. “It would be very useful for hunters.”

Future plans for Avery include studying electricity at the Fred Eberle Technical Center.

B-UHS Principal Jonathon Pollock said he finds the four winners very inspiring.

“It is wonderful we have this much talent in FFA students this early on,” Pollock said. “They are motivated, have the talent to enter these contests and then win. Their projects were great, and the prizes are wonderful. It is a testament to the programs and to the teachers. They churn out a high percentage of FFA degrees each year and they promote, they encourage, and they practice with their students and that is why we get to do things like this today – because of the strength and engagement in those programs.”

News Feed

Subscribe to remove popups, or just enjoy this free story and support our local businesses!