Programming, Youth

Innovative Youth Corn Challenge

Below I’m featuring information about a program in its third year, which involves youth utilizing knowledge in crops, specifically corn.Today’s agricultural world faces several challenges, one of them being the decline of our most valuable resource, the future workforce. Keeping youth in rural communities and involved in production agriculture is important to the agricultural industry. With the global population expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, there is and will be the need for more young people to engage in agricultural careers to feed the world.CornYieldChallenge

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension and the Nebraska Corn Board have teamed up to offer the 3rd Innovative Youth Corn Challenge contest. This contest, open to 4-H members (age 10 & older as of Jan. 1st) or FFA members (in-school members), will guide youth through all aspects of corn production, as well as agricultural careers related to corn production.  As a team, youth will be challenged to implement a production practice different than normal to determine if they increased their yield. Economics and sustainability of the practice will also be considered. Yields, cropping history, and production information will be collected in the Corn Yield Challenge management summary.

Goals of the contest are:achieve new, innovative, and economically feasible crop production methods to improve yields; provide research data for producers to implement in their operations; distribute data to corn producers, researchers, and agri-businesses for decision making purposes; introduce youth to a variety of agronomic professionals, including corn producers.

As a team, youth will work with an adult mentor throughout the process. Mentors can be extension faculty, ag teachers, or other qualified agronomy professionals. 

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.  A data completion and innovation award will also be given. Faced with a persistent drought, there will also be a “limited resource” award, which will be based on participants achieving a higher yield with limited inputs.

To participate, youth must complete and return an entry form by April 1st to the Fillmore County Extension Office in Geneva, NE.  For more information, contact Brandy VanDeWalle at, Aaron Nygren at or Amy Timmerman at

Crops, Uncategorized, Youth

Youth CropWatch Page

Crops Webpage for Youth

For the last two years, I’ve been working to get a website with resources and lessons for 4-H leaders, extension staff, agricultural education instructors, and youth developed regarding crop production.  I’m happy to announce that this webpage is up and running and can be found at

Youth in Crop Sciences Investigation (CSI) workshops learn about crop production and have the opportunity in investiage what pests might be present in the field.

The objective of this webpage is to provide a one spot stop with crop production information, some of it specific for Nebraska and some general crop information that can be used for a variety of locations. 

The webpage is divided into four main sections: crop and plant science facts, activities for youth, 4-H & FFA projects, and teaching activities & resources. “Crop and plant science facts” provides a short summary of crop statistics and other fun facts. “Activities for youth” has some fun crossword puzzles, word searches and other interactive activities for youth to participate. The 4-H and FFA project page has some of the opportunities available through 4-H and FFA such as Crop Science Investigation workshop series and other events related to crops. Finally, the “Teaching Activities and Resources” page currently has nine lessons available for anyone to download and teach hands-on activities to any age group, depending on how in depth they make the content.

More web-based interactive activities and lessons will be added to this webpage as time passes. I hope you will take some time to explore this webpage and encourage youth to consider a career in crop and plant sciences.