The first-ever Iowa State University Extension Iowa Crop Scouting Competition was held on August 19 with high school students from around the state participating. The competition coupled real-world scouting experience based on integrated pest management principles with community service. This ISU Extension program was created to increase high school students' awareness of Iowa agriculture through hands-on learning and teamwork.
Daren Mueller, an ISU Extension plant pathologist, says the first crop scouting competition was a learning opportunity for all involved.
"The students who participated were a talented group of individuals, and will be a great addition to Iowa's ag business in the coming years," Mueller says. "Getting the students excited about Integrated Pest Management and making sound management decisions at an early age sets a great base for their education."
Denison Community School team took first place in 2011 competition
Teams of four students and one individual student took part in the competition. The Denison Community School team – Calvin Snitker, Tim Riessen, Ryan Reimers and Malachi Schroeder – earned first place in the 2011 competition. The second place team from the Odebolt-Arthur-Battle Creek-Ida Grove (OA-BCIG) Community School included Cory Riessen, Lee Riessen, Jordan Rohlk and Eli Linman.
Randall Khulemann, Denison FFA adviser, says the contest was a great way to get students thinking about agronomy. "The materials were well organized and the sponsors were outstanding," Khulemann says. "It creates curiosity outside of the classroom, and was an excellent opportunity for us."
Jolene Riessen, OA-BCIG ag education adviser, agrees and says the contest, workshops and other learning materials will prove valuable in the future. "This friendly competition helps build confidence with knowledge of weeds and insects. It will be helpful when the students are older and decide to come back and farm."The contest was funded by a grant from the North Central Integrated Pest Management Center, with Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc. and the Iowa Soybean Association providing funds for curriculum and competition materials.