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Know your weeds? Win a ribbon at Iowa State FairKnow your weeds? Win a ribbon at Iowa State Fair

Experts, the public and youth are encouraged to enter ISU Weed Identification Contest at Iowa State Fair.

Rod Swoboda 1

July 28, 2016

2 Min Read

The longstanding annual Weed Identification Contest will take place once again this year at the 2016 Iowa State Fair. It will be held on Aug. 12 from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in front of the John Deere Agriculture Building. Everyone is welcome to enter the contest in one of the three divisions: Expert, Public and Youth. The top five winners from each division will receive a cash prize and a coveted Iowa State Fair ribbon.


“The goal of the contest is to increase the participants’ knowledge of weeds,” says Bob Hartzler, professor of agronomy and an Extension weed specialist at Iowa State University. “We try to make the test difficult enough so that nobody gets all 40 weeds correct, but we also include our most common weeds to ensure everyone gets some correct.”

No preregistration required; just show up to participate

The first place winners from 2015 included: Madelyn DeJong in the Youth class, Matthew Vandehaar in the General Public class, and Lowell Sandell in the Professional class. The contest usually draws 10 to 15 youth participants, 30 to 40 participants in the general division, and 15 to 20 professionals each year. Contest coordinators are Bob Hartzler and Meaghan Anderson, an ISU Extension field agronomist. They have high expectations for another great turnout this year.

No preregistration is required for the contest. To participate, contestants are to show up during the allotted time between 9 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Winners will be announced following the contest at 3 p.m. inside the John Deere Agriculture Building.

However, it’s a good idea to “study up” ahead of time

The following weed identification resources are available to help contestants study for the contest: Weed Identification Field Guide, 2nd Edition; Weed Identification Sheets for 100 Iowa Weeds; University of Missouri Weed Identification Guide; Michigan State University Turf Weeds; and University of Illinois Weed Identification Page.

Information about the Weed Identification Contest and other contests at the 2016 Iowa State Fair can be found in the Iowa State Fair Agriculture and Horticulture Crops Premium Book. For questions or more information about the Weed Identification Contest, contact Meaghan Anderson at 319-337-2145 or [email protected].

“With three divisions (future agronomists or youth, the general public, and a professional division) this is fun for the entire family,” says Anderson. Future agronomists will identify 25 common Iowa weeds, those in the general division identify 35 weeds, and professionals will identify 35, plus five extra challenging Iowa weeds.”

About the Author(s)

Rod Swoboda 1

Editor, Wallaces Farmer

Rod, who has been a member of the editorial staff of Wallaces Farmer magazine since 1976, was appointed editor of the magazine in April 2003. He is widely recognized around the state, especially for his articles on crop production and soil conservation topics, and has won several writing awards, in addition to honors from farm, commodity and conservation organizations.

"As only the tenth person to hold the position of Wallaces Farmer editor in the past 100 years, I take seriously my responsibility to provide readers with timely articles useful to them in their farming operations," Rod says.

Raised on a farm that is still owned and operated by his family, Rod enjoys writing and interviewing farmers and others involved in agriculture, as well as planning and editing the magazine. You can also find Rod at other Farm Progress Company activities where he has responsibilities associated with the magazine, including hosting the Farm Progress Show, Farm Progress Hay Expo and the Iowa Master Farmer program.

A University of Illinois grad with a Bachelors of Science degree in agriculture (ag journalism major), Rod joined Wallaces Farmer after working several years in Washington D.C. as a writer for Farm Business Incorporated.

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