Entry Deadline March 1 for the Innovative Youth Corn Challenge - UNL CropWatch, Feb. 15, 2013

Entry Deadline March 1 for the Innovative Youth Corn Challenge - UNL CropWatch, Feb. 15, 2013

February 15, 2013

Today’s agricultural world faces several challenges, one of them being the decline of our most valuable resource, tomorrow's 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, we need more young people engaging in agricultural careers. 

Ear of cornTo encourage youth efforts, UNL Extension and the Nebraska Corn Board have teamed up to offer the second Innovative Youth Corn Challenge. This contest, open to 4-H members (age 10 and older as of Jan. 1) 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 and then determine whether the change increased 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.

Contest goals are

  • to achieve new, innovative, and economically feasible crop production methods to improve yields;
  • to provide research data for producers to implement in their operations;
  • to distribute data to corn producers, researchers, and agri-businesses for decision making; and
  • to 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, an addition this year will be a “limited resource” award which will be based on participants achieving a higher yield with limited inputs. This could be limited water, management practices, fertilizer, other inputs, etc.


To participate, youth must complete and return an entry form by March 1 to the Fillmore County Extension Office in Geneva. Forms can be downloaded at cropwatch.unl.edu/youth/activities. For more information, contact the author at brandy.vandewalle@unl.edu.

Brandy VanDeWalle
Extension Educator, Fillmore County


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