UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — For the second year in a row, representatives from the Penn State Agronomy Club, a student organization in the College of Agricultural Sciences, took first place in the National Forage Bowl competition at the American Forage and Grassland Council annual conference, held Jan. 15-16 in Louisville, Kentucky.
The Forage Bowl competition requires students to identify forage and weed species and answer questions about many aspects of forages, from seeds to animal health. The format is similar to the popular game show "Jeopardy!" in that, in addition to correctness, contestants' speed in answering is a factor, according to Marvin Hall, professor of forage management in the Department of Plant Science and team adviser.
Collegiate teams from Purdue University, University of Wisconsin River Falls, Kansas State University and Penn State competed in the undergraduate team competition. After several rounds, Penn State faced off against Purdue in the final round, with the Nittany Lions taking home the title of National Forage Bowl Champions.
"Coaching these students, and then watching them compete, was such a privilege," Hall said. "They worked hard during precompetition practice to master the material, and they hit the mark — what an exceptional group."
The 2018 Forage Bowl team members are Casey Baxter, senior plant sciences major with an agronomy minor from Troy; Zachary Curtis, a junior animal science major from Waymart; Glenn Travis, senior agricultural systems management major from Indiana, Pennsylvania; Ben Crusan, junior plant sciences major from Butler; Cullen Dixon, junior plant sciences major from Frackville; Sunnie Liggett, senior plant sciences major with an agronomy minor from Washington, Pennsylvania; Jonathan Stephens, senior plant sciences major from Clearfield; and Taylor O’Guinn, a senior plant sciences major from Windsor, Maryland.
"Our whole team had a great experience at Forage Bowl," Baxter, a team leader, said. "We had an amazing opportunity to network with students from other universities and engage in a little friendly competition. I can't thank our adviser, Dr. Hall, and the rest of our team enough for this amazing experience."
The Penn State Agronomy Club is the student activities organization of the American Society of Agronomy. All students with interests in agriculture, agroecosystems and soils are encouraged to join. Club activities include blue and white corn production and marketing; weekend trips to points of interest relating to agronomy; preparation of newsletters; and social activities such as hay rides, golf tournaments, barbecues and picnics.
Bimonthly meetings feature speakers from academia and industry. Opportunities for club participants also exist to attend the national meetings of the Tri-Societies: Agronomy, Crops, and Soils.