Youth Crop Scouting Promotes Science and Technology for Future Agribusiness Professionals

Mark Licht, Extension Field Agronomist; and Carol Ehlers, Field Specialist-Youth; Northwest Area

Problem Statement:

Extension provides a diverse mix of education opportunities for the citizens of Iowa including youth and crop producers. Agriculture is the number one industry in Sac and BV counties. Each year new challenges present themselves to area crop producers. Some challenges are area specific while others extend across the state.

Very few youth enroll in the Crops Project Area or are included in formal agriculture education in the Junior division of 4-H. Both 4-Hers and their families could benefit from youth/adult crop scout training. Taking advantage of real life, hands-on experiences cast upon us by the environment and crops grown provides a tremendous opportunity to reach out the both youth and crop producers.

Programmatic Response:

The overall goal of the program was to advance the science and technology knowledge and enhance the value of crop scouting using 4-H material and to provide experiential opportunities for youth and crop producers to practice agronomy skills.


Four areas of impact emerged from this program; 1) multi-county, multi disciplinary programming, 2) generation of in-kind support from the community 3) excitement generated by both youth and parents and 4) enthusiasm was generated for future careers in agriculture.

    1. This program brought together 20 youth and parents from Sac and Buena Vista counties and Extension field specialists from Youth and Agronomy; making it a successful multi-county and multi-disciplinary program. Participants reported knowledge and skill growth in soil types, black cutworm reporting, soil temperature data collection, corn/soybean staging, rainfall simulator, erosion impact and pre-harvest yield projections.
    2. This program received in-kind contributions from area banks and agribusinesss totaling more than $1,572. Additionally, gained volunteer support from banks and agribusinesss totaling more than 15 hours representing $282 of volunteer contribution, high-end science and technology education at no additional cost to 4-H participants.
    3. In the 2007 program year 20 youth and adults participated; of which 11 (55%) also participated in the 2006 program year. Additionally, agribusiness and adult volunteer interests indicate a commitment to continue the program in 2008, potentially expanding 4-H Crops Scouts to neighboring Ida and Cherokee counties.
    4. Brent Drey, a participant from the 2007 program, summarizes the hands-on education experience; Ive enjoyed  4-H Crop Scouts and I am looking forward to another fun educational year next year. My first year of crop scouts was excellent and I never regretted one minute of it. This started me on my path of becoming a Professional Farmer, as I like to call it. I really like the world of Agronomy. I am in FFA and we have agronomy programs there so I can learn even more.


100 Corn and Soybean Production and Protection

Page last updated: October 1, 2007
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