TAYLORVILLE, Ill. — Lizzie Schafer chooses science fair projects that will deliver results that benefit people.
“That’s the most rewarding part, knowing that my results benefit the growers,” said Schafer, who is one of four finalists for an FFA National Proficiency Award in Agriscience – Animal Systems Research. “I don’t just want to do a project. I want it to directly benefit people in some way.
The national award winner will be showcased at the 94th FFA National Convention and Exposition Oct. 27-30 in Indianapolis.
“I’m very excited because both my brother and my cousin were national finalists,” Schafer said. “My cousin was a very good role model for me.”
The high school graduate completed three research projects inspired by her work with her family’s registered Angus herd of 100 cows.
The Taylorville FFA member worked in partnership with her brother for her first project.
“We compared two types of bovine synchronization methods for implanting embryos into recipient cows,” said Aaron and Sue Schafer’s daughter.
“The first method used CIDR or an internal controlled drug release system that releases progesterone into the cow and the second method used injections,” she said. “I wanted to see which method brought them to better warmth for the embryos to be implanted and concluded that CIDRs were a better method.”
For his second project, Schafer compared grade 1 and grade 2 embryos.
“I wanted to see if grade 2 embryos had a greater amount of female offspring than grade 1 embryos when implanted,” she said. “I concluded that grade 2 embryos had a higher percentage of female offspring than grade 1.”
Schafer compared grade 1, 2 and 3 embryos with his most recent project.
“Grade 1 embryos are of the highest quality and can be frozen in a nitrogen tank and implanted years later,” she said. “Grade 2 embryos are a little lower quality, but they can always be frozen and implanted later, and grade 3 embryos have small irregularities and cannot be frozen, so they must be freshly implanted into a cow. recipient.”
The aim of the project was to determine if it is cost effective to implant grade 3 embryos freshly instead of discarding them.
“A lot of growers think it’s too complicated to implant them fresh,” Schafer said. “I have concluded that Grade 3 embryos are a viable tool for producers to get the most cattle into the field in a year, so they should implant these embryos, not throw them away.”
Schafer is the President of the Taylorville FFA Chapter which is advised by Sue Schafer, Katie King and Lori Parks. She has also served as president and vice president of Greenhand and has participated in prepared public lectures and creed speeches.
“I plan to do impromptu public talks this year and I’ve been to a lot of science fairs as well,” she said.
The FFA member started researching junior colleges and universities to attend after graduation.
“I’m going to study agricultural communications to hopefully be an agricultural facilitator,” she said. “I was in journalism my freshman year and now I’m on the Tommy TV program at school where I interview people from all walks of life, which gives me a lot of experience.”