Opportunity for Iowa Youth to Learn Agronomy, Scouting Basics from ISU Experts

Register for the 2017 Crop Scouting Competition by July 1

May 3, 2017, 10:33 am | Daren Mueller, Adam Sisson

Crop Scout SchoolAMES, Iowa – The Integrated Pest Management program with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will host the seventh annual Crop Scouting Competition for Iowa Youth on July 31 at the Field Extension Education Laboratory in Boone, Iowa at 1928 240th Street.

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. In addition to team competition, the goal of the event is to bring awareness to Iowa agriculture and learn more about integrated pest management basics through hands-on learning and teamwork.

Joe and Suzanne Shirbroun of Clayton County have been team leaders at the Crop Scouting Competition for the past six years. Joe Shirbroun says he’s witnessed the competition make a big impact on the participating youth.

“The competition is a great way to connect education to the industry,” he said. “Over the last six years, we’ve had several students on our team realize this is something they have a passion for and decide to pursue it in college.”

Teams’ crop knowledge will be tested at topic-specific field stations and with a written exam. Several field stations will be run by ISU Extension and Outreach faculty and staff, giving students the opportunity to work next to and learn from Iowa State experts. Potential topics will include: crop diseases, insects, disorders, weed identification, herbicide injury, crop growth stages, degree day computation and sprayer calibration and sprayer issues.

“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, AGWSR FFA advisor in Ackley, Iowa. “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.”

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 Indiana on Aug. 28.

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 where to obtain these materials, visit ipm.iastate.edu.

Visit www.ipm.iastate.edu/cropscouting for more details, registration and a list of resources for team preparation. The registration form is due by July 1, 2017. View the 2016 competition online  by reading about the winners and watching a recap from last year’s event.

The event is sponsored by the following: DuPont Pioneer, Iowa Soybean Association, Iowa Independent Crop Consultants Association, ScoutPro, Iowa Certified Crop Advisors and Environmental Tillage Systems.

For questions, please contact Adam Sisson at ajsission@iastate.edu or Daren Mueller at dsmuelle@iastate.edu.

PHOTO: 2016 Crop Scouting Competition; Daren Mueller discussing soybean diseases with a team of Iowa youth at the plant disease field station.

About the Authors: