AMES, Iowa – Twenty-eight Iowa youth in grades 7-12 tested their Integrated Pest Management skills through field and classroom tasks and challenges, on Monday, July 29 as participants in Iowa's Annual Crop Scouting Competition. Receiving first place in the competition was Clayton County Team Number One; followed by Clayton County Team Number Two. Jasper County Diamond Trail FFA and Clayton County Team Number Three tied for third place honors. In fourth place was Washington FFA from Washington County.
These top five winning teams received a cash prize for their accomplishments, while the top two teams from Clayton County will be advancing to the regional competition Aug. 26 at the Field Extension Education Laboratory in Boone.
Eight teams from five locations competed in the 2019 Crop Scouting Competition where youth had the opportunity to work with and learn from Iowa State University faculty, staff and agronomists, as well as professionals in crop-related careers. The teams prepared months in advance for a chance to win cash prizes and the opportunity to compete at the Regional Crop Scouting Competition Aug. 26. The regional competition includes teams from Minnesota, Kentucky, Iowa, Nebraska and Indiana.
The goal of the Iowa Youth Crop Scouting Competition is to educate Iowa youth on the basics of IPM, potentially fostering a lifetime of understanding how our food is produced and protected, thus improving quality of life by increasing economic returns and reducing the unintended environmental impacts of agriculture. Students apply IPM principles to corn and soybean scouting experiences as they prepare for and participate in the competition.
Equipping future farmers and agronomists with crop scouting skills will help the next generation of farm decision makers with crop production and land stewardship. The competition was created to increase high school students’ awareness of Iowa agriculture using hands-on learning and teamwork.
Iowa State University faculty and staff as well as industry professionals served as judges at each of the nine field stations focused on crop management of corn and soybeans and included insects, weeds, diseases, abiotic injury, pesticide use and sprayer calibration and growth stages and crop morphology. This year a station on alfalfa pests was added. Specialists tested each team's knowledge on the topic at hand, but also took the time to talk with the youth and answer questions.
There was also a written test given to evaluate student’s knowledge about IPM principles and best practices to ensure individual team member mastery. The goal of this competition was to both test and increase student’s knowledge in the areas of IPM, crop growth and pest identification, as well as demonstrate the many careers available in agriculture.
Photo: 2019 Crop Scouting Competition first place team of Cassidy Penrod, Macie Weigand, and Laci Orr was led by Joe and Suzanne Shirbroun from Clayton County. Photo courtesy Brandon Kleinke.