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Clayton McEntire – 2019 Arkansas Soybean Science Challenge Award Winner FFA Agriscience Fair

Clayton McEntire, Waldron High School, Waldron, AR

FFA Advisor: Jim Wilcox

Category: Animal Sciences

Project Title: The effect of eliminating soybean meal from broiler diets


Soybeans are important in the animal production industry due to their high nutrient value and their abundance of essential amino acids. The research tested the effects of soybeans due to the fast growth rate of broilers and because soybeans are a common ingredient in poultry rations. The hypothesis of the project was if soybean meal positively affects the growth and development of broilers, then eliminating it from the rations will negatively impact the growth of the test group. Two groups of twelve broilers were used in the project. One group was fed a normal ration containing soybean meal and had a crude protein level of twenty percent. The test group was fed a ration that substituted flax seed and feather meal for soybeans and had a crude protein level of 16.3 percent. The broilers on the control feed containing soybean meal grew quickly and tripled the average weight of the test group broilers by day ten. The hypothesis was proven true. In conclusion, the broilers fed the test ration that did not have soybean meal, were inactive and underdeveloped. These results show that soybeans are essential in broiler diets and in the poultry industry.


Clayton McEntire wins 2019 Arkansas Soybean Science Challenge Award at FFA Agriscience Fair

Clayton McEntire, age 18, a senior at Waldron High School in Waldron, Arkansas has won the Soybean Science Challenge at the 2019 Agriscience Fair held at the FFA State Convention in Hot Springs, Arkansas April 24.

McEntire received a $300 cash award provided by the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board at the Awards Ceremony. His science project titled “The effect of eliminating soybean meal from broiler diets” placed fourth in Animal Sciences at the FFA Agriscience Fair. McEntire also placed first in Animal Sciences and received the ‘Best 12th Grade Project’ award at the Northwest Arkansas Regional Science Fair, March 11.

Jim Wilcox, McEntire’s FFA Advisor and Debbie Miller, Scott County 4-H Agent, won the Soybean Science Challenge FFA Advisor Award. “Clayton loves to learn about new findings in the agricultural field so the Soybean Science Challenge was the perfect fit for him,” stated Wilcox.  Wilcox also believes the Soybean Science Challenge is a wonderful program for his students. “I have my students take the Soybean Science Challenge to give them the opportunity to further their education in agricultural science and to gain experience that will benefit them later in life. Having the opportunity to learn and experiment about a new subject and then getting to teacher others about that subject is an even better form of education to not only others but to my students,” he replied.

McEntire was very honored to win the Soybean Science Challenge. “I gained valuable knowledge on soybean use in our society,” he said.

When McEntire took the Soybean Science Challenge online course, the topic that skarked his interest was the biofuels section. “The part of the course that appealed most to me was the fact that I had the opportunity to learn more about the soybean industry in Arkansas and what that means to me,” he replied.

While Wilcox had some knowledge of soybeans before finding out about The Challenge, He stated that his students were his largest source of information. “When I found out about the Soybean Science Challenge, I knew a few things about soybeans and their production in Arkansas, such as their being the largest, by acreage, row crop. As my students took the online course, they taught me so much more about soybeans and the importance they have in agriculture,” he replied.

Clayton’s parents, Mclaine and Sandra McEntire, are very proud of his accomplishment as they consider him a hard-working and very responsible young man deserving of this award.

“The Soybean Science Challenge provides an opportunity for Arkansas High School students to participate in scientific research that can impact the state of Arkansas as well as the world. Soybean Science Challenge student researchers learn about this important commodity crop and its many uses including feeding the world, development of biofuels and sustainable products. The Soybean Science Challenge helps students develop an understanding of the challenges and complexities of modern farming,” said Dr. Julie Robinson, Associate Professor and director of the program.

“The goal of the Arkansas Soybean Science Challenge is to engage students in “real world” education to support soybean production and agricultural sustainability,” said Gary Sitzer a member of the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board. “The program also rewards scientific inquiry and discovery that supports the Arkansas Soybean Industry.”

The Arkansas Soybean Science Challenge was launched in January 2014 to 9-12th grade science students. Students who successfully completed the online course were eligible to have their original soybean-related research projects judged at the 2019 ISEF-affiliated Arkansas Science and Engineering Fairs.

Information on the 2019-2020 Arkansas Soybean Science Challenge will be available in summer 2019. For more information, contact Dr. Julie Robinson at or Diedre Young at

The Cooperative Extension Service is part of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.

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