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Take a trip anywhere across Illinois and you'll see thousands of acres of corn, soybeans and small grains. This project prepares you for what it takes to feed the world. Test germination rates, study seed selection and seasonal pests, and identify plant diseases and weeds.

CLICK HERE to download the Corn Spark Sheet

CLICK HERE to download the Small Grains Spark Sheet

CLICK HERE to download the Soybeans Spark Sheet

Project Levels

Corn

Learn to test corn germination, study growing degree-days, experiment with soil tilth, manage pests, calculate drying time, cross-pollinate plants, and determine harvest losses.

Small Grains

Learn to select seed varieties, understand stages of plant development, germinate seeds, recognize and manage pests, determine pesticide risks, take soil samples, study costs and prices, and recognize disease.

Soybeans

Learn to select and germinate seeds, experiment with planting depth, study disease-resistant factors, explore careers related to crops and soils, and identify pests and diseases.

Resources to help you learn

State Fair Exhibit Rules

Each county may submit 3 entries total from 50170, 50171, 50172, 50173; and 1 entry from 50175.

SOYBEANS (SF 50170)

Exhibit five fresh plants (include root system that is washed) that are representative of member’s 4-H project field; OR exhibit an experimental or educational project related to one experience from your project. Include explanation of the project in a report for public understanding. Include the member’s crop records with the exhibit, such as the 4-H Crop record found online @ 4-H.illinois.edu, an FFA crops record or similar information.

Corn (SF 50171)

Exhibit two fresh plants of field corn (include root system that is washed), that is representative of member’s 4-H project field; OR exhibit an experimental or educational project related to one experience from your project. Include explanation of the project in a report for public understanding. Sweet corn should be exhibited in Vegetable Gardening unless being raised under a commercial contract by the exhibitor. Include the member’s crop records with the exhibit, such as the 4-H Crop record found online @ 4-H.illinois.edu, an FFA crops record or similar information.

Small Grains (SF 50172)

Exhibit one gallon of the current year's crop of oats, wheat, rye, or barley that is representative of the member’s 4-H project field; OR exhibit an experimental or educational project related to one experience from your project. Include explanation of the project in a report for public understanding. Include the member’s crop records with the exhibit, such as the 4-H Crop record found online @ 4-H.illinois.edu, an FFA crops record or similar information.

Crops Innovation Class (SF 50173)

Demonstrate the skills and knowledge you have gained through the Crops project. This could be related to, but not limited to crop production, crop utilization or topics of interest to the member related to agronomy. The exhibit may include, but isn’t limited to, original works, objects, demonstrations, digital presentations, programs, websites, games, apps, performances, or posters which you have made. Choose whatever method best shows what you’ve learned. Your exhibit should not fit in the other exhibit options for this project. You must furnish any equipment you need for your exhibit. Internet service will not be provided for the exhibit. All exhibits must include something visual, such as a printed copy of a digital presentation, which will remain on display during the exhibition. Electronic equipment will only be used during your personal judging time and will not remain on display during the entire exhibit period.

Crops Ready4Life Challenge (SF 50175)

Open to 11- to 18-year-olds enrolled in any Crops project. Exhibits in this category must include the following: a) a physical representation of the career or business product such as a model, prototype or display/portfolio that includes images of accomplished work; b) verbal or written explanations that demonstrate knowledge of the related career or business fields, potential careers, and the appropriate requirements for achievement in those fields. The judging criteria for this class values thoroughness of career and/or business exploration and pursuit above the workmanship of the physical specimen on display.

Crops Maker (SF 50400)

Counties may submit 3 entries TOTAL combined from all Maker exhibit divisions.

Exhibits in this category are designed to be multi-disciplinary in nature, innovative, and must not fit into any other exhibit category. To qualify for this category, your project MUST abide by the following guidelines:

  • Exhibits must be an object or device that has an intended purpose and uses technology in either a mechanical way, digital (computer) way, or combination of the two.
  • The device must be something that can be used in everyday life by multiple people (a target audience), and MUST be manufactured/built by the exhibitor (If not fully manufactured by the exhibitor, the device MUST be modified structurally or be reprogramed to perform a different function other than what it was designed to do
  • Exhibit MUST be able to interact with the outside world. (e.g. an on off switch, input sensors, feedback, etc.)
  • Exhibits MUST include a detailed build log with instructions on how to make or build the exhibit, AND contain either a 3D rendering or detailed and labeled sketches of the device/product.
  • All parts and software used in the design/build MUST be listed in a detailed Bill of Materials including cost per item and total cost. Total time spent on the build must be documented in your build log.

In addition, exhibitors are HIGHLY encouraged to use tools such as 3-D printers, laser cutters, routers and/or other hand/power tools to help in the manufacturing process (NOTE: Simply 3-D printing or laser cutting an object without the other specifications does not qualify as a Maker Project). It is also HIGHLY encouraged that exhibits use Open Source Software and/or Hardware in the build.

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