Penn State agricultural sciences students excel at National Forage Bowl

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Representatives from the Penn State Agronomy Club, a student organization in the College of Agricultural Sciences, took first place at the National Forage Bowl competition at the American Forage and Grassland Conference, held Jan. 23-24 in Roanoke, Virginia.

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.

On Jan. 23, the Penn State team competed in the semifinals, defeating Virginia Tech. The following day, the Penn Staters demonstrated their skills and knowledge in the championship round against Kansas State, winning with 4,900 points to Kansas State's 4,800. The championship teams were evenly matched, with the 100-point score difference being the narrowest in contest history.

The Penn State group, consisting of eight juniors and seniors representing three College of Agricultural Sciences majors — plant sciences, animal science and agricultural science — relied upon a solid knowledge on the topics in question, as well as quick reaction time, a skill they honed in pre-competition practice sessions.

"We had a great time preparing and participating in the Forage Bowl," said team member and club president Lew Frame, a junior from Honey Brook, Pennsylvania, studying plant sciences. "The event showed us a lot about ourselves and our teammates. Our adviser, Dr. Marvin Hall, was a crucial part of our success, bringing his extensive knowledge to our practice sessions and helping us on our way to victory!"

 
Penn State Forage Bowl Team 2017

Members of the 2017 national champion Penn State Forage Bowl Team are (from left) Taylor O’Guinn, Casey Baxter, Lew Frame, Amber Gabel, Jon Stephens, Joy Beam, Phil Stutzman and Lauren Martin.

Image: Marvin Hall, Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences
 

The 2017 Forage Bowl team also included Taylor O'Guinn, junior plant sciences major from New Windsor, Maryland; Casey Baxter, junior plant sciences major from Troy; Amber Gabel, senior animal science major from Newport; Jon Stephens, junior plant science major from Clearfield; Joy Beam, senior animal science major from Elverson; Phil Stutzman, senior agricultural science major from Kutztown; and Lauren Martin, senior animal science major from Volant.

"Studying, practicing and traveling with this group of students was an honor for me,” said Hall, a professor of forage management. "Win or lose, they are great people to be around. They represented themselves and Penn State with distinction."

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 agronomy club participants also exist to attend the national meetings of the Tri-Societies: Agronomy, Crops, and Soils.

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Last Updated January 27, 2017