AMES, Iowa – The Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Integrated Pest Management program will continue to host its annual Crop Scouting Competition for Iowa Youth on July 30. While initial plans were to host the competition in person at the ISU Field Extension Education Laboratory, this year’s competition instead will be virtual.
“After much discussion, we have decided to convert the Iowa Youth Crop Scouting Competition to a virtual format for 2020,” said Maya Hayslett, crop science youth educator and event coordinator. “It would be impractical to host the event in person while following the safety guidelines for preventing the spread of COVID-19. The safety of our youth participants, educators and staff is our top priority. We are confident that we can offer a virtual experience that will provide excellent learning and engagement opportunities for our youth participants.”
The virtual form of the competition will function in two parts: individual video submissions and a virtual team conference, supervised by a judge. Specific directions and rules will be sent to registered teams on July 1. Team conferences with a judge will be held on July 30. The top four teams with the highest total points will be eligible to win cash prizes.
Due to the unexpected format change, two new opportunities are being made available to teams that register for this year’s competition. For teams that register by the deadline, each team member is eligible to receive a free package of study materials. When teams register, coordinators will send one package to every youth team member who provides an address. This is not a requirement to participate in the competition. Only youth who want to be mailed a package should provide an address. Study materials will include field guides and other scouting tools. In addition, the IPM program has developed a free crop scouting resources page, complete with videos, lessons and guides for those looking to increase their knowledge and skills.
Also, teams may be eligible for free virtual office hours with an ISU Extension and Outreach field agronomist. Starting June 15, every Monday at 3 p.m. a different Iowa State agronomist will be available to share scouting tips, tricks and diagnostic tools, as well as answer teams’ questions. The virtual office hours will be open to all youth in grades 7-12. No registration is required. A link will be posted on the competition webpage on the day of the office hours that will direct you to a zoom meeting to participate. For more information, resources and to register, visit https://www.ipm.iastate.edu/crop-scouting-competition-iowa-youth-2020.
This event is sponsored by Iowa 4-H Youth Development, Corteva, Iowa Soybean Association, Iowa Independent Crop Consultants Association, Iowa Soybean Research Center, Iowa Certified Crop Advisors and Environmental Tillage Systems.