AMES, Iowa – The Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Integrated Pest Management program will host its eighth annual Crop Scouting Competition for Iowa Youth on July 30 at the Field Extension Education Laboratory in Boone, Iowa. The goal of the event is to bring awareness to Iowa agriculture and help Iowans learn more about integrated pest management basics through hands-on learning and teamwork.
Crop scouting and IPM are important tools for farmers to increase economic returns while reducing unintended environmental impacts. Equipping future farmers and agronomists with crop scouting skills and basic IPM information will help the next generation of farm decision makers with crop production and land stewardship.
High school students (those completing grades 9-12) from Iowa are invited to put their crop scouting skills to the test, competing against other Iowa youth teams across the state. It’s not just a competition, however.
“I like to bring my FFA students to this competition because it enables them to learn from ISU Extension and Outreach faculty and staff,” said James Abbas, FFA adviser for Ackley Geneva Wellsburg Steamboat Rock High School. “The experts working the competition are able to provide instant feedback to the teams, and they do so in a respectful, positive manner. They are always willing to help the kids and work with them.”
This competition makes an impact on youth in Iowa. Last year, student participants reported an increased interest in agriculture related careers because of the event. Each student reported an increase in knowledge in multiple crop-related disciplines including entomology, plant pathology, crop staging and morphology, herbicide issues and crop disorders.
At the competition, each teams’ crop knowledge will be tested at topic-specific field stations and with a written exam. The top four teams, based on points accrued from the field stations and exam, are eligible to win cash prizes, and all participants will receive a free event t-shirt. The top two teams will be invited to the regional competition held in Nebraska on Aug. 27.
ISU Extension and Outreach has various resources such as field guides, publications and presentations to help each team prepare for the event. For more information on obtaining these materials, visit ipm.iastate.edu.
To register, submit a completed registration form by July 1, 2018. For more details, event registration, and preparation resources visit www.ipm.iastate.edu/cropscouting. Watch a recap of last year’s event.
The event is sponsored by DuPont Pioneer, Iowa Soybean Association, Iowa Independent Crop Consultants Association, ScoutPro, Iowa Certified Crop Advisors and Environmental Tillage Systems.