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Hay judging provides stiff competition

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A group of competitors are fighting to be named the best of best at the Mississippi Valley Fair.  Some go for food and entertainment others go to compete. However, this competition isn't your typical contest.

It's competition day and confidence is at an all time high.

"I think I'll do pretty well," said Liz Haman, a judge.

You'll need more than confidence to come out on top when it come out on top when it comes to judging hay.

"It looks all the same. You kind of have to look through certain stuff," said Haman.

You'll need to use your senses from touching to even smelling the hay.

"I try not to look for stuff that's really hard, but like not really soft either and like stuff that is not too grassy but like has stuff in it as well," said Haman.

While there are others like 14-year-old Tony Friederichs who has been studying up on types of hay. He looks for hay that has nutritional value.

"Look for a bud and that bud means that it's at the peak of its nutritional value," said Friederichs a judge.

Also it's important to look for the right color.

"This one is probably going to be last because it's a little sun bleached," said Friederichs.

Danny Winkelman vice president of the Eastern Iowa Hay Association says its about more than just getting first place.

"To educate the young ones it's a good thing and then they realize what hay goes to where," said Winkelman.

All the kids that participated in the contest walked away with prizes. There was also an adult competition for best hay produced based on protein value and appearance.