AMES, Iowa--The first Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Iowa Crop Scouting Competition was held on Aug. 19 with high school students from around the state participating. The competition coupled real-world scouting experience based on integrated pest management principles with community service. This extension program was created to increase high school students’ awareness of Iowa agriculture through hands-on learning and teamwork.
Daren Mueller, ISU Extension plant pathologist, said the first crop scouting competition was a learning opportunity for all involved.
“The students who participated were a talented group of individuals, and will be a great addition to Iowa’s ag business in the coming years,” Mueller said. “Getting the students excited about Integrated Pest Management and making sound management decisions at an early age sets a great base for their education.”
Teams of four students and one individual student took part in the competition. The Denison Community School team – Calvin Snitker, Tim Riessen, Ryan Reimers and Malachi Schroeder – received first place in the competition. The second place team from the Odebolt-Arthur-Battle Creek-Ida Grove (OA-BCIG) Community School included Cory Riessen, Lee Riessen, Jordan Rohlk and Eli Linman.
Randall Khulemann, Denison FFA adviser, said the contest was a great way to get students thinking about agronomy.
“The materials were well organized and the sponsors were outstanding,” Khulemann said. “It creates curiosity outside of the classroom, and was an excellent opportunity for us.”
Jolene Riessen, OA-BCIAG adviser, agreed and said the contest, workshops and other learning materials will prove valuable in the future. “It helps build confidence with knowledge of weeds and insects. It will be helpful when they’re older and decide to come back and farm.”
The contest was funded by a grant from the North Central Integrated Pest Management Center, with Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc. and the Iowa Soybean Association providing funds for curriculum and competition materials.
Brent Brueland, Pioneer Hi-Bred, 515-822-4739
David Wright, Iowa Soybean Association, 515-334-1017