UW-Platteville Collegiate Crops Team earns top placings at national contests

Anna Koehler, Anna Hagemann, Mandi Schick, April Molitor, Jay Long, Isaac Ward, and Jack Lichte
Pictured left to right are Anna Koehler, Anna Hagemann, Mandi Schick, April Molitor, Jay Long, Isaac Ward and Jack Lichte.

The University of Wisconsin-Platteville Collegiate Crops Team earned honors in the 89th annual National American Royal Kansas City Collegiate Crops Contest and the 94th annual National Chicago Collegiate Crops Contest earlier this month. This year, the team took third place overall in both, adding to a legacy of 50 years of excellence at the contests.

Team members Mandi Schick, April Monitor and Jack Lichte placed individually at both contests, while Jay Long, Anna Hagemann, Anna Koehler and Isaac Ward served as alternates. The students were coached by two experts in the field, Dawn Lee, Pioneer Greenhouse supervisor and lecturer in the School of Agriculture, and Dr. Roger Higgs, professor emeritus, who helped guide the team to success.

The National Collegiate Crops Judging Contest challenges participating students to test their skills in plant and seed identification, commercial grain grading, and seed analysis. Students dedicate themselves to two four-hour practices a week to prepare for this contest, starting from the first week of the semester. Lee said while these practices are rigorous and demanding, they are essential to teach students how to evaluate crops for quality, certification, viability and marketing. She said that hard work was rewarded for the team this fall.

"The students were so nervous as placings were being announced.  However, wanting to see their facial expressions, I didn't immediately let on that their hard efforts had paid off," Lee said. "I look forward to continuing to work with the students as they prepare for the 70th annual North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture Judging Conference, held in Twin Falls, Idaho, next April."

Seven universities participated in the American Royal Kansas City Collegiate Crops Contest, which was held at the National Grain Center in Kansas City, Missouri. Loyola University Water Tower Campus in Chicago, Illinois, hosted the National Chicago Collegiate Crops Contest where five universities competed.

The UW-Platteville team has competed in both contests since 1970, placing third 20 times, second 28 times and first 10 times, achieving All-American status by being in the 95th percentile. Funding for team travel was provided by the Doug and Jean Buhler Undergraduate Travel Impact Grant and by generous donations made by alumni and friends to the UW-Platteville Foundation – Soils and Crops Teams Endowment Fund.

For more information about the UW-Platteville Collegiate Crops Team, contact Dawn Lee at leedaw@uwplatt.edu.