October 19, 2011

UNL Extension, Nebraska Corn Board team up to offer Youth Corn Challenge

Today’s agricultural world faces several challenges, one of them being the decline of our most valuable resource, the future workforce.

While Nebraska’s population under 18 years of age grew between 2000 and 2009, this increase was seen in only ten of the 93 counties. One strategy to keep youth in rural communities and involved in production agriculture is to involve them in projects that encourage active participation and demonstrate the wide array of careers related to production agriculture.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension and the Nebraska Corn Board have teamed up to offer the first Innovative Youth Corn Challenge contest.

The 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 the agricultural careers related to corn production. Youth will be challenged to implement a production practice different than normal to determine if they increased their 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.

Goals of the contest are to achieve new, innovative and economically feasible crop production methods to improve yields; provide research data for producers to implement in their operations; distribute data to corn producers, researchers and agri-businesses for decision making purposes, and introduce youth to a variety of agronomic professionals, including corn producers.

Youth will work with an adult mentor throughout the process. Mentors can be extension faculty, ag teachers or other qualified agronomy professionals.

There's cash prizes!

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.

To participate, youth must complete and return an entry form by March 1, 2012.

For details on how to participate and to access the form, go to cropwatch.unl.edu/web/cropwatch-youth/activities.

For more information, contact Brandy VanDeWalle at bvandewalle2@unl.edu or 402.759.3712.

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