Youth crop scouting virtual competition connects youth with crops

Nebraska Extension will present the fifth annual Crop Scouting Competition for Nebraska youth. Youth interested in crops have the opportunity to learn about crop growth and development and basic crop-scouting principles.

This contest will be held virtually this year on July 28. Teams of middle school through high school students (those completing 7th to 12th grades) from across Nebraska are invited to participate. With the virtual option, space will be limited to the first 10 teams that register. Teams will compete in a fun, group online game instead of the written individual test. The scouting exercises will enable teams to work together via Zoom. Teams will be given a scenario or task to complete and communicate their answers to the Nebraska Extension judge.

Clubs or other organizations may enter a team composed of three to five participants. An adult team leader must guide students through the process. 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. Teams are expected to know the basics of scouting corn and soybean fields, including 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.

Two new opportunities for youth this year

A free package of study materials will be mailed to each team that registers by the deadline. When teams register, Nebraska Extension will send one package to every team sponsor that provides an address. Study materials will include: weed, disease and insect guide; corn and soybean field guide; and additional promotional items.

Nebraska Extension will also provide office hours with Extension agronomists for participants leading up to the competition. The office hours are open to all youth in grades 7 to 12. No registration required. A Zoom link will be posted on this webpage on days that office hours are held.

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 15. This program is sponsored by Nebraska Independent Crop Consultant Association and Nebraska Extension.