August 13, 2012 – On August 1, 2012, Weed Science graduate students and advisor Dr. Shawn Askew participated in the Southern Weed Conference in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Weed Science Team A received the highest honors and was presented with the “Broken Hoe Trophy” which is awarded to the winning university.

PPWS Weed Science Team
Members of winning Team A were (L-R): Dr. Shawn Askew (advisor), Angela Post (Ph.D.), Kurt Vollmer (Ph.D.), Adam Smith (Ph.D.), and Michael Cox (Ph.D.). Also pictured is University of Arkansas host Dr. Jason Norsworthy. Not pictured is Dr. Jacob Barney (co-advisor).


The Southern Weed Contest is hosted annually by the University of Arkansas, who has won the contest 25 of the last 32 years. In response to Virginia Tech’s unprecedented second win, Dr. Askew commented, “The students and professors at [the University of] Arkansas delivered one of the most challenging contests in the events history,” and added that this was the first time the “Broken Hoe” had been housed in Blacksburg in all of the competition’s history. Co-advisor Dr. Jacob Barney shared his enthusiasm with this second win and noted “This is really a tremendous accomplishment for our weed program to win both regional contests.”

Southern Weed Contest competition

In addition to skills-based competitions throughout the day, students from participating universities were challenged with the traditional “mystery competition”. This year’s competition was comprised of a flooded rice field foot race in which Virginia Tech’s students also dominated to much applause and collegial laughter from teammates and other competitors.

According to the Southern Weed Science Society, this annual event provides undergraduate and graduate students within the southern United States an opportunity to utilize and expand their skills within the field of weed science. Students are provided the opportunity to engage with peers and scientists at an intercollegiate level, while establishing lasting relationships with peers and future colleagues within their areas of expertise. The added mission of the competition is to also broaden interest and awareness of the field of weed science.