Competitive Spirit—Cals Teams Bracket National Success

Crops Team

The ISU crops team helps prepare students for a career as agronomists by teaching them skills such as plant, insect and disease identification as well as problem solving. Each year the team competes against other four-year universities at the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA ) contest which is held at various locations across the country. During the competition the team also travels to farms and agricultural businesses to learn about the area’s agriculture. In 2012 the ISU Crops Team finished first in the Knowledge Bowl and second in the Crops competition. Erik Christian and Josh Enderson, agronomy, are coach and assistant coach of the team.

Dairy Product Evaluation Team

The Dairy Products Evaluation Team is a student club in the food science and human nutrition department that focuses on learning and sharpening the sensory evaluation techniques and skills for six dairy products: 2% milk, cottage cheese, vanilla ice cream, Cheddar cheese, butter and strawberry yogurt. Until the 2009 team was formed, ISU hadn’t competed in the National Collegiate Dairy Products Evaluation Contest since the late 1970s. Since reviving the team, the students have enjoyed success, earning finishes within the top four each year. Each fall semester the team prepares for the annual National Collegiate Dairy Products Evaluation Contest and in the spring they focus on fundraising, social activities and industry visits. The team is coached by associate professor Stephanie Clark.

Livestock Judging Team

Intercollegiate livestock judging provides students with communication and decision making skills. At each contest, teams representing universities from around the country compete by placing 12 classes of livestock (cattle, hogs and sheep) and giving eight sets of oral reasons. A set of oral reasons is a prepared speech given to an official by a student defending the way the individual placed a particular class of livestock. Typically over 30 teams compete at national events. The 2011/2012 Livestock Judging Team finished first at the Aksarben Stock Show, Iowa Beef Expo and at the Sioux Empire Farm Show. They brought home a third-place finish from the National Western Stock Show in Denver. Jonathan DeClerck, animal science, coaches the team.

Meats Judging Team

Intercollegiate meat judging is a competitive student team activity dating back to 1926. Students travel across the country and interact with leaders in the meat industry, while competing against teams from other universities. These competitions provide students opportunities for improving their skills and competencies in determining the value of beef, pork, lamb and processed meat products. The team is coached by Sherry Olsen and the assistant coach is Lori Ellensohn. At the 2011 Southeastern contest the team finished third and fourth. They finished ninth at The American Royal, and at The International, the team finished 16th.

Soils Judging Team

Success is a common theme associated with Iowa State’s soils judging team. Three of the past four years, the ISU team has won the regional contest and in 2012 the team finished third overall in the National Collegiate Soils Judging Contest. Graduate student Matthew Streeter and professor Lee Burras, agronomy, coach the soils team. Jonathan Sandor, who recently retired, coached the team for 28 years. The competition allows students to develop their skills while describing soil properties, identifying types of soils and associated landscape features and interpreting soil information for agriculture and other land uses.

Turf Bowl Team

The ISU Turf Club has captured first place in the last 12 of 14 national “Turf Bowl” competitions. Hosted by the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, the competition gets students excited about mastering professional skills key to the industry. Over the years, the Iowa State team has become known as the team to beat. The team’s achievement is largely due to their willingness to devote time to hands-on training at prominent golf courses. They also learn the latest techniques in turf by inviting guest speakers to club meetings. Networking with the top golf course superintendents in the United States at various conferences has also helped their success. While the Turf Bowl is what they’re best known for, the club also offers projects for members to bridge their knowledge from the classroom to real life scenarios. The team is coached by Nick Dunlap, a graduate student in horticulture, and the team adviser is Nick Christians, University Professor of Horticulture.