Skip to main content

SDSU Crops Judging Team Receives High Honors at National Contests

SDSU Crops Judging Team wins top honors at national contests.
The SDSU Crops Judging Team finished third and fourth at the two national finals collegiate crops competitions held last fall. Pictured, from left, are: (back) Jackson Cramer, Miguel Mena and Rachel Geary; (front) Aubrey Weishaar, Dalton Howe and Miranda Smidt.

The South Dakota State University Crops Judging Team finished third and fourth at the two national finals collegiate crops competitions held last fall. The team placed fourth at the Kansas City Royal Contest held Nov. 16 and third at the National Collegiate Crops Contest held in Ames, Iowa, Nov. 19.

Collegiate crops competitions consist of three parts: grain grading, seed and plant identification and seed analysis. These components require students to grade grain samples, identify 200 seed and plant samples and analyze seed samples for contaminants, which they also must identify and classify.

The 2021 team members include: Miranda Smidt, agronomy student from Brookings; Aubrey Weishaar, agronomy student from Lemmon; Dalton Howe, agronomy student from Redfield,; Jackson Cramer, agronomy student from Warner; and Miguel Mena, agronomy student from Harlan, Iowa. The team is coached by Brent Turnipseed and assisted by Rachel Geary, plant science master’s student from Elk Point, and Johnna Jorgensen, plant science master’s student from Mount Vernon. 

Individual results from the contests include:

  • Kansas City Royal Contest
    • Smidt: 10th overall and in grain grading and seed and plant identification, fifth in seed analysis
    • Weishaar: 11th overall and in seed analysis, ninth in grain grading and seed and plant identification
    • Howe: 12th overall and in seed and plant identification, 11th in grain grading, 13th in seed analysis
  • National Collegiate Crops Contest
    • Smidt: seventh overall, first in seed analysis, eighth in seed and plant identification, 10th in grain grading
    • Weishaar: ninth overall, sixth in seed and plant identification, eighth in grain grading and seed analysis
    • Howe: 12th overall, sixth in grain grading, 11th in seed analysis, 13th in seed and plant identification

In addition to competing, team members had the chance to tour agricultural facilities near Kansas City and Ames.

“My favorite part about being on the crops judging team is that we are all competitive people,” said Smidt. “It pushed me to further my knowledge in areas where I wasn't as strong suited. Not only that, but then being able to take that competitiveness nationally and even take home first place individually in seed analysis made all the hours of studying worth it.”

The SDSU crops judging team has continually proven the great amount of skill and expertise that lies within the university’s Department of Agronomy, Horticulture and Plant Science on the national level.

“Crops judging was more than just about the competition to me,” said Weishaar. “I learned how important it is to grow with my team and to help each other along the way.”