National Plowing Contest in South Dakota this summer

South Dakota Ploughing Association
Farm Forum

The National Plowing Contest comes to the LeRoy Fett farm south of Tea this summer on Aug. 3 and 4. Sanctioned by the USA Plowing Organization, the National Plowing Contest is held every year in a different state, and 2018 is South Dakota’s turn to host. Around 40 contestants from South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Maryland will come to compete in six different classes. First held in 1939, the National Plowing Contest then featured two classes: Tractor and Horse. This year, contestants will compete in the Open Class, Antique Class, Junior Class, Garden Tractor Class, Small Plow Class, and Reversible Class. Equipment to pull the plows will range from garden tractors to antique tractors to modern front-wheel-assist utility tractors. The Small Plow and Reversible classes are sure to draw extra interest this year as the winners of those two classes will represent the USA at the 2019 World Plowing Contest, which will be held at Lake of the Woods, Minnesota. The USA last hosted the World Plowing Contest in 1988 at Amana, Iowa.

The South Dakota Ploughing Association and the Fett family have been diligently planning the National Plowing Contest since last fall. Seventy acres of cereal rye were seeded last fall and will be combined before the contest. Competitors will start arriving on the Wednesday before the contest to practice on the rye stubble. The South Dakota State Plowing Contest will be held on Thursday, August 2. On Friday, August 3, the National Contest starts in earnest at 9:00 a.m. Besides the contest, there will be interesting antique tractor and horse plowing demonstrations happening throughout the day. Spectators can watch the activity from the shade of large cottonwood trees that mark the location of a homesteading tree claim. Contestants in the plowing contest will each plow the same amount of ground while under a time limit. The plots are then judged on straightness, trash coverage, furrow uniformity, quality of tilled surface, straightness of ins and outs, the crown, and the finish. Results will be announced on Saturday afternoon around 5:00 p.m. as soon as the scores are tabulated.

For more information go to or find the USA Plowing Organization on Facebook.