Hannah Holdsworth has just begun her first year here at Iowa State University in Agronomy, but she comes bringing in lots of experience already. In fact, this past summer she competed in the State FFA Agronomy CDE and placed as the overall top individual. Back in 2017, Hannah joined the agronomy team of the Denison FFA Chapter where they competed in the state FFA agronomy competition. The team received second, and Hannah also received second individually.
The same team was brought back for the 2018 state competition. At this year’s competition, the team won three of the four competitions: written exam, identification, and crops judging. Overall, the Denison FFA Chapter received first place and will be heading to Indianapolis in October. Hannah herself received top individual in identification and crops judging, and second place in written exam. She was also the top individual this year. Her teammate, Brady Fredericks, placed top individual in the written exam and was fifth overall.
In order for Hannah and her team to prepare, they studied a lot. She met with a retired FFA advisor who had examples that came in handy for studying. They would even drive around together and look for weeds in ditches, collect them, and then take them back to study.
This year her preparing is a little different now that Hannah is at Iowa State. She tries to split her time between class time, studying, and still having a social life. She was given a long list of identification items, so she makes presentations in her free time so she can become familiar with what she needs to know. She also plans to make a few trips home to meet with her old coach to help her study some more.
The contest for Nationals will be different from what the state level competition. It is split into eight different regions: written exam, identification, soils, commodity, agronomy issues, pest management, equipment and machinery identification, and team activity. The contest this year is based off of region 3, a southern state.
Hannah’s interested in agronomy actually began because of her interest in animals and vet science. She knew she always wanted to be involved in agriculture. Her original plan was to become a vet, until her team and herself qualified for National Convention in 2016 for the FFA Veterinary Science CDE. With all the work put into that, Hannah realized that she loved animals but was not passionate about becoming a vet. While preparing for that contest, she was asked if she would be on the crop scouting team. Hannah wasn’t so sure she would enjoy, but as it turns out, she couldn’t get enough. Crop scouting is really where her interest in agronomy began. She was on the team for four years, and they received second place twice, first once, and third once as well. Her junior year of high school is when she decided to try the agronomy competition, when she place second overall individually.
After graduation, she would ideally love to move back home or around the area and see what options of being an agronomist are nearby, whether it be working at a local co-op or for the USDA. But if there are bigger and better opportunities for her, Hannah would like to challenge herself to see where her degree in agronomy will take her.