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Strong Finish at Home-Hosted Crops Judging Contest

Released by Panhandle State Campus Communications on 02/20/2018 Members of the Panhandle State Crops Judging pause for a photo with faculty and administration members following the Regional Crops Judging Contest hosted in Goodwell. —Photo by Danae Moore Members of the Panhandle State Crops Judging pause for a photo with faculty and administration members following the Regional Crops Judging Contest hosted in Goodwell. —Photo by Danae Moore

Goodwell, Okla. — The School of Agriculture at Oklahoma Panhandle State University had the opportunity to host the Regional Crops Judging Contest on campus on Saturday, February 10th in the Science and Agriculture Building. The contest saw 14 schools in attendance with over 100 students vying for the title.

The crops judging competition is an intensive examination of agronomic skills and knowledge designed around the American Society of Agronomy (ASA) Certified Crop Adviser (CCA) program. The contest consists of four sections: laboratory practical, agronomic exam, math practical and plant and seed identification. In the laboratory practical, competitors identify insects, diseases, equipment, and crop products, plus determine crop growth stages, interpret pesticide labels or seed tags, name plant structures, identify nutrient deficiencies, and evaluate various crop production problems. The agronomic exam evaluated knowledge of crop production and management, crop physiology and breeding, soil properties, soil fertility, tillage, crop harvesting and storage, weeds, insects and diseases. The math practical included equipment calibration, pesticide application and other mathematical calculations. Seed and plant identification requires contestants to identify over 150 plant and seed specimens.

Both two-year colleges and four-year universities traveled to participate with the University of Wisconsin in River Falls winning recognition for traveling the farthest. Additional schools competing included Iowa State University, Kansas State University, West Texas A&M University, Panhandle State, University of Nebraska in Lincoln, Oklahoma State University, Fort Hays State University, Hutchinson Community College, Nebraska College Technical Agriculture, Northeast Nebraska Community College, Cloud County Community College, Eastern Oklahoma State College, and Seward County Community College.

In the four-year division Kansas State University was first with 2044 points and Iowa State University was close behind with 2000. The University of Nebraska in Lincoln finished third with Panhandle State close behind in fourth.

Panhandle State Agronomy Department Head and Crops Judging Coach Dr. Curtis Bensch said, “It was a great start to the crops judging season. The students now have a better appreciation of what all is involved and just how intense the competition actually is. Panhandle State was selected as the host site for the contest this year and I feel that we put on a good contest for all involved. The students will now shift their attention to the next regional contest in Manhattan, Kan. on March 9th and then the national NACTA contest which will be in Norfolk, Neb. in April.”

In the two-year division the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture earned the first place plaque with a commanding lead placing their four individual team members in the top five individual placings overall. Hutchinson Community College and Northeast Nebraska Community College placed second and third, respectively.

In the four-year individual standings, John Paul Kain of McCook, Neb. finished in the top ten overall for Panhandle State. John Paul said, “I thought the contest was very well organized. It was challenging and thoroughly tested each competitor’s agronomic knowledge. I am content with our team placement of fourth, but realize there is opportunity for improvement and look forward to the next competition at Kansas State University.”

Rounding out the four-person competitive team for Panhandle State was Mary Kate McCall, Kierra Smart, and Allison Jones. Coleman Sintas, Spencer Durler, Ross Brown, and Jordan Jones also represented the Aggies getting some valuable experience under their belts.

Big thank you to Hunny’s for providing a delicious lunch. Also very special thanks to the contest’s generous sponsors including Servi-Tech, CropQuest, Crop Production Services, Hitch Enterprises, and Skyland Grain Company.