Test Your Weed Identification Skills at the Iowa State Fair

Participants of all ages can test their weed identification skills

July 8, 2024, 9:45 am | Meaghan Anderson, Robert Hartzler

AMES, Iowa – The annual Iowa State University Extension and Outreach weed identification contest will be held at the Iowa State Fair on Friday Aug. 9, from 9-11:30 a.m. in front of the John Deere Agriculture Building.

Participants identifying weeds at the Iowa State Fair.Participants of all ages can test their knowledge of common weeds found in the state, by attempting to identify real weed samples, potted and on tabletop display. Contestants need to know commonly accepted names of weeds but do not need to know scientific names.

There are three divisions: Future Agronomists (youth under age 19), General and Professional. Following the contest, winners will be announced at the 3 p.m. awards ceremony inside the John Deere Agriculture Building. Weeds from the contest will also remain on display for the duration of the fair in the lower level of the John Deere building.

The top five winners in each division will walk away with a cash prize and a coveted Iowa State Fair ribbon. Future agronomists will identify 20 common Iowa weeds, those in the general division will identify 30 weeds, and professionals will identify all 30, plus five extra-challenging Iowa weeds.

“The weeds for this year’s contest are off to a great start, including at least two new species we’ve never had before,” said Meaghan Anderson, field agronomist with ISU Extension and Outreach and contest organizer. “We invite all weed identification enthusiasts to see how their ID skills stack up against the best. I highly recommend the whole family compete to see who the best is at weed identification!”

For more information on the contest, contact Meaghan Anderson at mjanders@iastate.edu or visit the Iowa State Fair Contests page online. Not sure you’re ready for the big day? Use the ID resources below to study up and win your division:

Shareable photo: Participants judging weeds at the Iowa State Fair.

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