Farm Progress

Iowa high school students compete and test their knowledge of natural resources and conservation.

May 16, 2018

4 Min Read

Teams of Iowa high school students dug into the state’s natural resources at the 22nd Iowa Envirothon. Held this year at the Des Moines YMCA Camp in Boone, the Des Moines FFA Team 2 rose to the top to claim the title of state champ.

The Des Moines FFA Chapter includes students from high schools that do not have an FFA program. This year’s winning team includes students from Lincoln, Roosevelt and Hoover high schools.

Put knowledge to test
Organized by the Conservation Districts of Iowa, Envirothon teams compete in environmental categories that include aquatics, forestry, wildlife, soils and current issues. Students put their knowledge and critical-thinking skills to the test by performing tasks like water quality analyses and soil identification, and then delivering a presentation to a panel of judges.

This year’s oral presentation topic, “Rangelands,” challenged youth to think about how they would manage prairieland for livestock grazing. With the land adjoining a water source, they focused on how to maintain the land’s integrity.

The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation has sponsored the Envirothon since the event’s start in 1996.

Winning team to compete nationally
“One of the objectives of the Envirothon is to promote youth’s environmental awareness and encourage them to learn how to manage our state’s natural resources. It’s a goal that is shared by our farming members,” says IFBF environmental policy adviser Rick Robinson. “We know the investment we all place in these kids will pay dividends in the future, because they’ll be motivated to develop new research and technologies to help farmers with improvements in the field.”

Iowa Farm Bureau says it wishes the Des Moines FFA 2 Team luck as they head to Pocatello, Idaho, on July 22-26 to compete in the National Envirothon Competition. For the complete results and photos, visit

Scholarship winners future ag leaders
In other recent Iowa Farm Bureau Federation news, the 2018 IFBF scholarship winners were announced. “Our organization is proud of its 50-year history of financial support for youth education,” says Craig Hill, IFBF president.


WINNING TEAM: Des Moines FFA Team 2 includes (from left) Maura Speck, Lincoln High; Zoie Wagner, Roosevelt High; Samuel Stevens, Lincoln; Nadine Garcia, Hoover High; coach Craig Nelson; and Eva Lackman, Roosevelt.

With 1 in 5 jobs in Iowa tied to agriculture — from seed science and veterinary medicine to precision technology to livestock building design — there are “fields of opportunities” tied to this industry. To help students pursue these careers, IFBF has awarded $180,000 in tuition scholarships in 2018 to current or future students who will study agriculture in post-secondary school. The 180 selected students will each receive $1,000 to further their education.

“Throughout our 100-year history, Farm Bureau has always had a strong belief in the youth of Iowa. By investing in our youth, we are investing in the future of Iowa. Since 1997, we’ve awarded 1,080 of these scholarships to help students pursue their dreams in the ag field,” says Barb Lykins, IFBF community resources director. “We’re honored to help these young leaders get a start in their academic pursuits and help put them on a path to achieving their career goals.”

Donnellson student wins scholarship
In addition, Lyndsey Paden of Donnellson was named recipient of the Daniel Johnson Memorial Scholarship, a one-time $500 award for a student from one of 11 counties in southeast Iowa: Keokuk, Washington, Louisa, Muscatine, Wapello, Jefferson, Henry, Des Moines, Davis, Van Buren and Lee. 

The scholarship is awarded in honor of the late Daniel Johnson, a former Iowa Farm Bureau director, farmer, volunteer firefighter and school board president.

To be considered for this scholarship, students must have quality academic performance, have two letters of recommendation submitted on their behalf and write an essay on how their chosen occupation will contribute to agriculture.

First-time Farm Bureau scholarship recipients include 54 graduating high school seniors or students currently enrolled in an accredited college, university or community college to earn two- or four-year degrees and whose parents are Farm Bureau members. Students can renew the scholarships for up to four years by maintaining a minimum grade point average of 2.5 and being a student in good standing.

First-time applicants are asked to write an essay indicating the contributions they expect to make to agriculture and the rural community. They’re also selected based on academic achievement, financial need, community and extracurricular involvement, and letters of recommendation.

Source: Iowa Farm Bureau




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