Collegiate Crops Team From UM Crookston Places Third In National Collegiate Crops Contests

The national crops judging contests have a long and celebrated history. The University of

In the photo, left to right, are Amanda Crook, Rob Proulx (coach), Betsy Thoreson, Rachel Elshaug.

Minnesota, Crookston Collegiate Crops Teams have been a part of that history since 1967, and this year, the team from the Crookston campus placed third in both national competitions held in November in Kansas City, Mo., and Chicago, Ill. The 2013 three-member team included Amanda Crook, a senior from Brandon, Manitoba, Canada, double majoring in agronomy and agricultural business; Betsy Thoreson, a senior from Climax, Minn., majoring in agronomy; and Rachel Elshaug, a junior from Grand Forks, N.D., majoring in agronomy.

The team was coached by agronomy lecturer Rob Proulx, who also serves as advisor to both the Agronomy Club and Delta Theta Sigma.

In the Kansas City Crops Contest held November 19, Crook finished third in seed analysis, and seventh in both grain grading and identification for a seventh place finish overall. Elshaug finished eighth in seed analysis, ninth in grain grading, and tenth in identification for a ninth place finish overall. Thoreson finished tenth in seed analysis, and eleventh in grain grading and identification for a tenth place overall finish.

In the Chicago Crops Contest held November 23, Crook finished fourth in seed analysis, seventh in identification, and twelfth grain grading for a sixth place finish overall. Elshaug finished sixth in grain grading, ninth in seed analysis, and tenth in identification for an eighth place finish overall. Thoreson finished tenth in grain grading, eleventh in seed analysis, and thirteenth in identification for a thirteenth place finish overall.

Crook earned an All-American award from the American Society of Agronomy, which is awarded for scores of 570 (95%) or better, for her seed analysis scores in both Kansas City and Chicago.

Both third place finishes by the team came behind Kansas State University who finished first, and University of Wisconsin Platteville who finished in second, and ahead of fourth place finisher Virginia Tech. Rounding out the top six were Oklahoma State University and South Dakota State University.

The crops contests integrate a student’s knowledge of agronomy into three categories: seed analysis, grain grading and crop and weed identification. The Kansas City and Chicago contests represent the national finals of collegiate crops competition for the year. Preparation for crops contests teaches evaluation of crops for quality relative to certification, viability, and marketing.

The first Collegiate Crops Contest was held in 1923 and in Kansas City in 1929. Collectively in the 89 years of competition, 163 crops contests have taken place. Teams from the U of M, Crookston have competed in the crops contests for 45 years. They have finished in the top four more than 30 times and four times when the team fell out of the top four, the teams consisted of only two members rather than the usual three-member team. Both times those teams placed sixth overall. To learn more about the contests, visit