Innovative Youth Corn Challenge

Those who know me probably know how much I enjoy working with youth. I’ve taken a statewide leadership role in Nebraska Extension engaging youth in the crop sciences and one of the programs that has came to life is the Innovative Youth Corn Challenge. This has been a very rewarding effort seeing the excitement and pride of the youth who have completed their project and the appreciation from their parents for offering this program. Recently, we held the Innovative Youth Corn Challenge (IYCC) banquet to recognize teams for the accomplishments, which I’ve decided to share in this week’s article.BanquetCollage15

Nebraska Extension and the Nebraska Corn Board teamed up to offer the third Innovative Youth Corn Challenge contest in 2014. This contest, open to 4-H members (age 10 & older as of Jan. 1st) or FFA members (in-school members), guided participants through all aspects of corn production, as well as agricultural careers related to corn production.

The 2014 winning team was from the Fillmore Central FFA chapter, consisting of Adam Hoarty,IMG_20140613_093836_936 Garrett Whitley, Tyler O’Conner, Logan Peppard and Aaron Poppert. The team with the highest percent yield increase over their local county average is the winner. In earning the $1,000 first-place award, Fillmore Central FFA tested corn-seeding rates on irrigated ground to determine the optimum rate. Their check plot of 32,000 seeds per acre yielded 253 bushels per acre, while their challenge plot, planted at 38,000, yielded 281 bushels per acre.

Second-place team overall was the Kornhusker Kids 4-H Club of Cuming County, earning $500 for their efforts. Team members tested two different sources of sulfur–gypsum (calcium sulfate) and ammonium sulfate. The check plot of 167 bushels per acre yielded the highest. The ammonium sulfate treatment produced 164 bushels per acre and gypsum 163 bushels per acre. The Kornhusker Kids 4-H Club included Kaleb Hasenkamp, Angela Rolf, Matthew Rolf, Levi Schiller and Payton Schiller.

Third-place team was the Eagle Hustlers 4-H Club in Holt County, which tested a product, called Pervaide, which was developed to reduce compaction. The challenge plot yielded 213 bushels per acre, while the check plot yielded 210 bushels per acre. The Eagle Hustlers 4-H Club consisted of Miles and Jace Stagemeyer of Page.

SueEllenAs a team, youth worked with an adult mentor throughout the process. Mentors can be extension faculty, ag teachers, or other qualified agronomy professionals. Other awards were handed out recently during the banquet in Lincoln:

  • The Data Completion Award, worth $200, went to the Kornhusker Kids 4-H Club.
  • The Innovation Award, worth $200, was presented to the Eagle Hustlers 4-H Club.
  • The Limited Resource Award went to both the Eagle Hustlers team and Fillmore Central FFA Chapter, which will split the $200 award.

To participate in 2015, youth must complete and return an entry form by March 15th to the Fillmore County Extension Office in Geneva, NE. Cash prizes and plaques will be given to the first, second, and third place teams. First place will receive $1,000, second place will receive $500, and third place will receive $250. Sustainability, crop scouting and “extra mile” awards will also be given, each worth $200.

Forms can be downloaded at UNL’s CropWatch-Youth webpages. For more information, contact myself at, Aaron Nygren at or Amy Timmerman at

Updates on the progress of the Corn Challenge can be found on FaceBook! Tweet about it using #IYCC!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s