ALLENTOWN, Pa. — The 2023 4-H Potato Grading and Identification Contest held at the Pennsylvania Farm Show on January 10, 2023, with a record number of contestants. One hundred and fifty-nine 4-H members comprising of forty-two teams participated in this exciting contest. 4-H youth from Armstrong, Blair, Bradford, Bucks, Cumberland, Carbon, Indiana, Lebanon, Lehigh, Montgomery, Montour, Northampton, Potter, Union, and York Counties all assessed their knowledge of spuds.
The contest consists of two divisions: basic and honors. The honors division are winners from previous years. Competitors in the basic division assess their skills at three stations. The first station is a “potato grading” station. This station is a timed event where competitors challenge themselves to see who can grade one hundred potatoes in the shortest time. Not only is quickness important, but so is accuracy. The second station is a “defect station” where competitors must accurately identify twenty different defects on forty potatoes. The third station is a “plate” grading station. A total of five potatoes are placed on each of the four plates. Each plate must be evaluated on uniformity of size and shape and lack of defects. The plates are ranked in order. Two classes of plates must be judged.
Those in honors must complete three stations in addition to the basic stations. The fourth station is made up of two more plate classes. The fifth station is estimating the weights of two large potatoes. At the sixth station, the contestants must pick a Premium Pack. Out of thirty potatoes, the ten most uniform and defect-free potatoes are selected.
This contest teaches and enhances life skills such as decision making, defending your answer, quickness, and observation. These skills can be used for judging potatoes, for judging livestock and other items in 4-H. Enhancing the use of these skills helps prepare 4-H members for future careers and activities.
The first place “A” team was from Lehigh County with team members Allison and John Emanuel from Laury’s Station, Kamryn Fink of Germansville, and Payge Haydt of Walnutport. Allison Emanuel was the second highest scoring individual of entire group.
The third place “B” team was from Lehigh County with team members Samuel Lazarus of Schnecksville, Parker Haydt of Walnutport, Emma Olmstead of Lenhartsville, and Trevor Bowman of Slatington. The fourth place “B” team was from Lehigh County with team members Mikayla Cover of Whitehall, Miranda Brown of Palmerton, Casey Wells of Allentown, and Harper Schantz of New Tripoli. The fifth place “B” team was from Lehigh County with team members Emily Laudenslager of Allentown, Darren Bowman of Slatington, Levi Lazarus of Schnecksville, and Mary Rabold of Allentown. Additional Lehigh team members include Colton Hanna of Breinigsville, Hannah Keberlein of Coplay, Bridget Rabold of Allentown, Alex Weisner of Lenhartsville, David Offord of Macungie, Annabelle Wells of Allentown, and Tyler Cover of Whitehall.
In the honors division, Sadie Berger of Kutztown placed first, Marisa Berger of Kutztown placed second, Konnor Weisner of Lenhartsville placed third, and Jonas Geiger of Schnecksville placed fourth, all from Lehigh County 4-H.
Many educational and fun activities are offered by 4-H in Pennsylvania. In Pennsylvania, 4-H is coordinated by Penn State Cooperative Extension through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 4-H programs are open to all youths regardless of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or disability. For more information about the above events or other 4-H activities, call the 4-H office in your county: Lehigh 610-391-9840 or LehighExt@psu.edu.
–Penn State Extension