The seventh annual Iowa Crop Scouting Competition will take place on July 31, 2017 at the Field Extension Education Lab in Boone, Iowa. Below are some of the great opportunities the competition provides!
1) You’ll get to talk to Iowa celebrities.
High school student teams will have an opportunity to learn from Iowa State University experts. While the ISU faculty and staff test the kids’ knowledge at individual field stations, they also take the time to go over the topic material with the students and answer questions. I hear the experts that help out at the competition are a pretty great group. Working to save the world one field at a time, they eradicate hordes of hungry insects, avert crop-disease disasters, and keep barbaric weeds at bay. In short, they’re all awesome! This competition team leader backs me up:
“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,” said AGWSR FFA Advisor James Abbas.
2) You’ll learn. A lot.
Whether the students are currently involved in agriculture or if they’re just curious about the field of agronomy, the competition is a great learning platform for students to gain more experience and knowledge. Topics at the competition include: identification and information regarding crop diseases, insects, weeds, disorders, herbicide injury, growth stages, and plant parts. They may also throw in a little degree day computation, sprayer calibration and sprayer issues… just to make things interesting. So, the real question is, what won’t you learn?
“It’s been really great to see these young students embrace the idea of learning about what’s going on in the fields and using that information either to help them with summer employment or even with determining what they’re going to study in college,” said Daren Mueller, extension plant pathologist and IPM program coordinator at Iowa State University.
“The competition is a great way to connect education to the industry,” said Joe Shirbroun, team leader for the past six years from Clayton County. “Over the last five 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."
3) You could make a friend (or two or three).
Competitors consist of students from all across Iowa. What a great opportunity to make friends who share a similar interest as you! The Cyclones and agronomy. What a winning combination.
4) The Field Lab has everything you need. And more.
The Field Extension Education Lab is perfect for hands-on learning and instruction with acres of demonstration plots showcasing all sorts of crop issues, WiFi, and air-conditioned classrooms. You heard it right, air-conditioning. Don’t act like you’re not impressed. Most of the competition will take place outside, but it’s nice during breaks… and lunch, where you don’t have to wear pink to sit with us.
The Field Lab is also less than 15 minutes away from Iowa State University campus. Stop over and see the Home of the Cyclones while you’re in town!
5) YOU'LL GET A FREE T-SHIRT! And some other stuff.
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.
“I mean, who doesn’t want to go to Indiana? Interesting fact about Indiana according to MentalFloss: Indiana has produced more professional basketball players per capita than any other state. So, that’s cool,” Jody Korthaus.