AMES, Iowa – Youth in grades 7-12 from across Iowa tested their integrated pest management skills through several tasks and challenges, both in the field and in the classroom, during the 12th annual Iowa Youth Crop Scouting Competition on July 28.
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. Teams competed at the Field Extension Education Laboratory in Boone. 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. 15 at Purdue University in Indiana.
The annual competition tested and increased students’ knowledge in the areas of IPM, crop growth and pest identification, as well as demonstrated the many careers available in agriculture, according to Maya Hayslett, crop science youth education specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach.
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. After judging was complete, youth enjoyed lunch and team-building activities so teens who traveled from all over the state could get to know each other.
“The goal of the Iowa Youth Crop Scouting Competition is to educate Iowa youth on the basics of integrated pest management, fostering a lifetime of understanding about the concepts and importance of IPM, and thus improving quality of life by increasing economic returns and reducing the unintended environmental impacts of agriculture,” Hayslett noted. “It also provides youth with the opportunity to interact with ag professionals.”
A judge at the competition commented, “The Iowa Youth Scouting Competition provides youth with an opportunity to showcase their knowledge about corn and soybean production management. Perhaps more important, however, is the benefit to interact with ag production specialists from ISU and industry to learn about the dozens of careers available in agriculture.”
Receiving first place in this competition was Clayton County Team Number 2, followed by Clayton County Team Number 1 in second place. Clayton County teams were led by Joe and Suzanne Shirbroun. Clayton County Team Number 2 members are Nick Deitchler, Ben Gibson and Jake Schilling. Clayton County Team Number 1 members are Lane Orr, Tristan Weigand and Keaton Klingman. These top two teams from Clayton County will be advancing to the regional competition.
The East Pottawattamie County team led by Tom Harder took third place. Members are Roman Scheffler, Collin Harder, Parker Weirich and Abbie Willet.
The Royal Farmers from Cherokee County led by Ann and Jeff Goth came in fourth. Members are Derek Goth and Kaden Galles.
These top four winning teams received a cash prize for their accomplishments.
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.
Shareable photo and caption: Crop Scouting Competition first place team Clayton County 2 (left to right) Jake Schilling, Nick Deitchler, and Ben Gibson. Photo courtesy of Lexa Krause.