UWRF Wins National Forage Boal Competition

A team of four UW-River Falls students placed first in the National Forage Bowl Competition. UW-River Falls was the smallest university in the competition. They topped large Division I schools, including other event finalist Purdue University. 

UW-River Falls team members include Ryan Bottema, a sophomore from Maple Grove, Minn., majoring in horticulture; Jace Heiman, a senior from Kewaunee majoring in crop and soil science; Tucker Lundquist, a senior from St. Paul, Minn., majoring in crop and soil science; as well as Hannah Schull, a sophomore from Medford, Minn., majoring in crop and soil science. 

Yoana Newman, associate professor of crop science who coaches the UW-River Falls Forage Bowl Team, said her students’ smarts combined with a strong work ethic landed them the national victory. 

“What can I say? This is an excellent group of students,” Newman said. “They are a very motivated group and also are very competitive. They put in a lot of work, a lot of study, to prepare for this event.”

The Forage Bowl competition is modeled after the popular TV game show Jeopardy. The UW-River Falls team won the first event stage, a plant identification exam, building an initial lead. They defeated other schools in the Jeopardy-like portion of the competition, advancing to the final. 

While UW-River Falls was the smallest school in the event, it has perhaps the biggest reputation, courtesy of having won the previous three Forage Bowl competitions it competed in, from 2019-21. The coronavirus pandemic wiped out the competition in 2022, and last year UW-River Falls did not compete in the event.