Horticulture Identification Contest

Superintendent – Elizabeth Killinger, Grand Island


  • Participant Eligibility:
    • Past high point individuals (i.e., Gold Medal Winners) may compete for individual and/or team honors.
    • 4-Her’s become ineligible to compete on a team if they have represented Nebraska in the designated National 4-H contest.
    • Individuals are selected and compete in a national contests based on their individual placing in the state level contest (rather than county team placing) are eligible to return to the state contest and only judge as an individual. 4-Her’s who have competed in a national or regional level contest that is not the designated contest are eligible to compete for team and individual honors.
  • Participants are required to pay a non-refundable fee of $5/person.
  • Participants will be notified of the location of the contest prior to State Fair.
  • General rules from the 4-H section of the Nebraska State Fair apply.

Age Divisions

Age divisions will be determined by their 4-H age, the age of the youth before January 1 of the current year.

  • F500021 Intermediate: Ages 10-13
  • F500020 Senior: Ages 14-18

Contest Guidelines

  • Participants may enter as an individual and as members of a team. A team consists of 3 to 4 individuals with the total scores of the three high individuals making the team score. Membership of the team must be designated if team competition is intended.
  • A team will compete at the level of the oldest team member, e.g., if a member of a team is in the Senior division, the team and its individuals will compete in the Senior division, even if some members of the team are of Intermediate division age.
  • Individuals compete according to their age, unless they are an Intermediate aged member of a Senior team, see above.
  • Members do NOT need to be enrolled in a 4-H horticulture project to participate.
  • Contestants will not be allowed to touch the samples during the contest.
  • Contestants must bring their own pencil or pen and clipboard.
  • Participants will be required to participate in all of the following portions:
    • Identification- Participants will identify the plant specimens by accepted common name as defined by the “Identification Answer Sheet.” Participants will be given a plant list to use at the contest.
      • Two points will be possible for each specimen. Intermediate division will identify 50 samples (25 from each of the following sections: Fruits, Nuts, & Berries and Vegetables); Senior division will identify 100 samples (25 from each of the four sections; Flowers & Indoor Plants, Landscape Ornamentals, Fruits, Nuts & Berries and Vegetables).
      • Specimens may be alive or preserved plant parts such as, but not limited to: stems, twigs, leaves, flowers, seeds, fruits, roots, bulbs, tubers, or plant products.
    • Judging/Placing- Participants will be asked to rank class(es) of items from best to worst based upon a set of criteria. Intermediate division will judge one class and Senior division will judge two classes, each class is worth 50 points. Classes of four (4) plates each, will be judged on the basis of condition, quality, uniformity, true-to-type, and size. Classes can be taken from the list of four groups to be judged (fruits and nuts, vegetables and herbs, flowering and indoor plants, and woody ornamentals). Scores will be determined by a Hormel calculator. Oral reasons will not be given by contestants.
    • Written Exam- Participants will complete a multiple choice/ true false exam worth 2 points per question. Intermediate division will receive a test with up to 25 questions; Senior division will receive a test with up to 50 questions. Questions will test the contestant's knowledge of cultural practices for horticultural crops, plant science, pesticides, horticultural careers and other topics related to the production, processing and consumption of horticultural crops.
  • Ties will be broken with additional questions at the end of the contest written exam, then based upon their identification scores.




  • Gold, Silver and Bronze medals will be awarded to the top 3 individuals in each division of the State 4-H Horticulture Identification contest.
  • Top 4 Senior individuals will be eligible to represent Nebraska at the National Junior Horticulture Judging Contest.
  • Placing ribbons will be awarded to the top 10 individuals in each division of the State 4-H Horticulture Identification contest.


  • Ribbons will be awarded to each team member of the 3 place teams.