AMES, Iowa – On July 27, youth from around the state enjoyed a fun day in the field at the Iowa Youth Crop Scouting Competition. Fifty youth in grades 7-12 traveled from all four corners of the state to the Field Extension Education Lab in Boone to test their integrated pest management skills through several tasks and challenges.
The event, hosted by the Iowa State University Integrated Pest Management Program and Iowa 4-H Youth Development, provided youth with the opportunity to work with and learn from Iowa State faculty, staff, agronomists and professionals in crop-related careers. The teams prepared months in advance for a chance to win cash prizes and an opportunity to compete with teams from Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska and Indiana at the Regional Crop Scouting Competition on Sept. 18 at the Eastern Nebraska Extension and Education Center.
Field stations focused on crop management of corn and soybeans and included topics on insects, weeds, diseases, abiotic injury, pesticide use and sprayer calibration, cover crops, growth stages and crop morphology. Specialists tested each team’s knowledge on the topic and provided feedback and discussion on their answers. In addition, youth were given a written test to evaluate their understanding of IPM principles and best practices to ensure individual team member mastery.
During the day, youth also enjoyed lunch and team-building activities so teens who traveled from all over the state could get to know each other. There was a delay in the competition due to stormy weather, but all participants were able to stay safe and dry in the building and complete the competition once the storm had passed.
“This is my fifth year organizing the competition, and I am constantly impressed with how much the participants are able to learn and their ability to demonstrate their knowledge,” Maya Hayslett, 4-H crop science youth education specialist, noted. “My goal is for youth to have a fun, hands-on learning experience, and the youth at the competition show a love of learning that astounds me.”
A large part of the competition’s success is the great ag professionals that share their knowledge and experience with the youth. Youth participant Grant Farnham from Central Plains FFA, commented, “I would recommend this competition to other people that want to go into any ag field that would involve corn and soybeans or even to be an agronomist because you can learn a lot of new things and learn from people that study it and practice it every day.”
In this competition, Clayton County Team Number One received first place, followed by Clayton County Team Number Two in second place, and Clayton County Team Three in third place. Joe and Suzanne Shirbroun led the Clayton County teams. The Royal Farmers from Cherokee County, led by Ann and Jeff Goth, came in fourth.
These top four winning teams received a cash prize for their accomplishments, and the top two teams from Clayton County will advance to the regional competition.
Awards, lunch and other event support were made possible by the following sponsors: Corteva Agriscience, Iowa 4-H Foundation, Bayer, United Soybean Board, Syngenta, Iowa Independent Crop Consultants Association, Iowa Certified Crop Advisors and Environmental Tillage Systems.
Learn more about the Iowa Youth Crop Scouting Competition by visiting the IPM website.
Watch a recap of the event at the ISU IPM YouTube channel here: https://youtu.be/9Us6EyFrMlk.
Shareable photos and captions
Photo 1: Mindy Keehner, Jake Schilling and Amelya Weigand from Clayton County discuss identification of weeds with Page Thomsen-Russ from Bayer. Photo courtesy of Lexa Krause.
Photo 2: Addison Moellers and Max Kofoot from Franklin County examine a soybean plan at the disease scouting station. Photo courtesy of Lexa Krause.
Photo 3: 2023 Crop Scouting Competition first-place team Clayton County 1. Left to right: Keaton Klingman, Ben Gibson, Nick Deitchler, Tristan Weigand. Other winning teams not pictured: Clayton County 2 second place (Nate Shirbroun, Mindy Keehner, Amelya Weigand, Jake Schilling), Clayton County 3 third place (Cora Keehner, Henry Reimer, Daniel Royer, Rebecca Suhr), and Royal Farmers fourth place (Derek Goth, Kaden Neddermeyer, Kaden Galles). Photo courtesy of Lexa Krause.