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OPSU Crops Judging Placed 4th at National Contest

Panhandle State Communications on 04/26/2021

The Oklahoma Panhandle State University agronomy crops judging team placed 4th at the National Invitational Crops Contest held April 16 in Kansas. A group of five agronomy seniors made the trip, including Cassidy Tolle Johnson, Katie McCall, Dillon Roesch, Chandler Evans, and Karsten Harrison. The team was coached by Dr. Curtis Bensch, OPSU professor of agronomy.

The team took fourth place overall in the contest in which nine universities and colleges competed. Top five teams were Kansas State University, Iowa State University, University of Nebraska, Oklahoma Panhandle State University, and University of Wisconsin, respectively. Other colleges competing were Murray State University from Kentucky, Texas Tech, West Texas, and Northwest Oklahoma State University.

Cassidy Tolle Johnson, OPSU senior from Arnett, OK, commented on the contest, “Our team put many hours of hard work and determination into this competition, which earned us 4th in the nation against other much larger colleges. Crops judging not only encourages us to learn more about of field of study, but also prepares us to be career ready. I am very honored to have been a part of the crops judging team here at OPSU”.

The crops contest is an intensive examination of students’ agronomic knowledge and skills and consist of four sections: a math test, general knowledge exam, plant and seed identification, and lab practical. Plant and seed identification requires contestants to identify over 150 plant and seed specimens. In the laboratory practical, competitors identify insects, diseases, equipment, and crop products, plus determine crop growth stages, interpret pesticide labels or seed tags, plant structures, identify nutrient deficiencies, and evaluate various crop production problems. The general knowledge exam evaluates understanding of crop production and management, crop physiology and genetics, soil properties and fertility, weeds, insects and disease. The math test evaluates agronomic activities such as calibration of farm equipment, pesticide and fertilizer application. The contest is designed around objectives of the American Society of Agronomy for crop advisor certification.

Dr. Bensch said, “I am very proud of these students for their fourth-place finish. They worked very hard in preparing for the contest and performed at a very high level against other much larger universities. They demonstrated that they possess the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful professional agronomists.”

Special thanks to the team’s generous supporters, including Brandon Tripp with Nutrient Ag Solutions in Guymon, Oklahoma.