Crops, Programming, Youth

Youth Crop Scouting Competition

Connecting Youth with Crops

Looking for a fun club project? Want to unite your club members? Running out of ideas for club meetings?  If you answered, “yes” to any of these questions, help is on the way!  Nebraska Extension is pleased to present the 6th annual Crop Scouting Competition for Nebraska youth. Youth interested in crops have the opportunity to learn about crop growth & development and basic crop scouting principles.Crop Scout Design (1)

Don’t know a lot about crops?  Ask a local agronomist to assist by providing a short lesson on crop production. You can have the agronomist meet with youth a little during each meeting or outside of the meeting. This is one way to engage those youth interested in crops.

This contest will be held at the ARDC near Mead, Nebraska on July 23, 2019. The event will include both indoor and outdoor events. Teams of junior high and high school students (those completing 5-12th grades) from across Nebraska are invited to participate. This event is limited to the first ten teams who sign-up!

Clubs or other organizations may enter a team composed of three to five participants. An adult team leader must accompany each team of students. Team leaders could be FFA advisors, crop consultants, extension staff, coop employees, etc.

Top-scoring teams win prizes: $500 for first, $250 for second, $100 for third place. Top two teams will be eligible for regional competition in August at Iowa this year.

Teams will be expected to know the basics of scouting corn and soybean fields. This includes crop staging; looking for patterns of crop injury; disease, insect and weed seedling identification; etc. Other topics many include but are not limited to, pesticide safety, nutrient disorders, and herbicide injury.

More information about the crop scouting competition and instructions on how to register a team are available online at Register at:

Teams must be registered by July 18. This program is sponsored by Nebraska Independent Crop Consultant Association, DuPont Pioneer, Farm Credit Services of America and Nebraska Extension.

Crops, Programming, Youth

Future Agronomists at Work

IMG_3598Three states competed at the 3rd Annual Regional Youth Crop Scouting Competition on August 27, 2018 at the Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center near Mead, Nebras­­ka. Teams of youth participated by completing six crop scouting exercises in field plots.  This educational, hands-on program provided students an opportunity to learn crop scouting and principles of integrated pest management (IPM) for corn and soybeans, obtain knowledge and skills that will be helpful in future careers and to demonstrate newer crop scouting technologies.

Youth worked in teams of 4-5 to create a solution or answer to the crop scouting exercise. 

The top two teams from Nebraska, Iowa and Indiana qualified for the competition. Extension faculty from Nebraska served as judges for the program and tested the teams’ knowledge on the basics of scouting corn and soybean fields. This included crop staging; looking for patterns of crop injury; disease, insect and weed seedling identification; etc.
Results from the 2018 competition were as follows:

  • First place- Nebraska Team, Colfax County 4-H (Logan Nelson, Brad Kratochvil, Austin Steffensmeier & Korbin Kudera)

    Colfax County 4-H received top honors as the 2018 Regional Crop Scouting Competition Champion.
  • Second place – Indiana Team, Heritage Hills FFA (Sydney Hassfurther, Bryce Peter, Gabe Gogel, Alex Gehlhausen and Luke Rahman
  • Third place (Tie) – Nebraska Team of Kornhusker Kids 4-H Club of Cuming County (Payton & Levi Schiller, Matthew & James Rolf and Kaleb Hasenkamp) and Iowa Team from Clayton County (Team #1) consisting of Andre Shirbroun, Max Gibson, Matt Whittle, Cassidy Penrod and Cole Deitchier.

Also participating was Indiana Team, Eastern Hancock FFA with Jackson Beaudry, Ryan Kohlstrum, Loren Matlock, Zach Sickle and Brent Sorrell and Iowa Team from Clayton County (Team #2) which consisted of Mia Gibson, Jon Whittle, Tom Whittle, Laci Orr and Macy Weigand.


More information about the crop scouting competition are available online at

This program was sponsored by DuPont Pioneer, the Nebraska Independent Crop Consultant Association and Farm Credit Services of America in collaboration with Nebraska Extension. If you know of a company or you would are interested in sponsoring the 2019 program, please contact me at

Crops, Uncategorized, Youth

Making One Agronomist at a Time

Last week, eight Nebraska youth traveled to Iowa to participate in the 1st Annual Regional Youth Crop Scouting Competition held at Iowa State University’s Field Extension Education Location near Boone, IA. These youth scouted six fields for diseases, insects, abiotic/biotic disorders, weed identification and crop growth stage and development. Teams from IIMG_6290.JPGowa and Indiana also competed. Nebraska teams ranked 4th and 5th respectably. Between all three state competitions, 111 youth competed from Nebraska, Iowa and Indiana. Top two teams from each state competed at the regional competition. Congrats to all of the youth who not only networked with agronomic professionals, but also gained the most by improving life skills related to a potential career path.

While this is one program, which impacts a very small percentage of youth, it is very important to start training the next generation of ag leaders to feed our growing population. In fact the USDA’ National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) believes so strongly in the future of agricultural career pathways, they are funding $3.1 million through a Food and Agricultural Sciences National Needs Graduate and Postgraduate Fellowship Grants Program (NNF). This fellowship will aid in supporting the next generation of scientists and innovators who will be key to the future of our food and agricultural systems.

The NNF program is for graduate degree (masters and doctoral) programs and postgraduate training. The Nebraska Farmer website says it well, “the purpose of this program is to develop intellectual capital to ensure the preeminence of U.S. food and agricultural systems. This funding invests in experiential learning, including international experiences, for individuals who demonstrate their potential to successfully complete graduate degree programs in disciplines relevant to NIFA’s mission.”

There are eight targeted expertise shortage areas in which applicants should target their projects which include:  animal production; plant production; forest resources; agricultural educators and communicators; agricultural management and economics; food science, human nutrition and human sciences; sciences for agricultural biosecurity; veterinary sciences; food and agriculture data analytics and tools; and integrative biosciences for sustainable food and agricultural systems. Applications are due September 22, 2016. For more information go to the NIFA – NNF website.IMG_6287.JPG

While this program is for graduate and postgraduate degree programs, it all starts by sparking the interest in youth, one at a time with the goal of “making on agronomist at a time.”

For more information on how to engage youth in crops, visit our UNL CropWatch site at