10-14-16 FFA Rangeland Judgers Compete in Burlington

Eastern Colorado State FFA Rangeland Judging career Development Exercise (CDE) held in Kit Carson County.  There were 230 FFA students participating in this year’s contest representing 24 schools from all over eastern Colorado.  This picture shows one group of students judging a Limestone Breaks ecological site, one of two ecological sites located near Burlington.  The participating teams were Akron, Arickaree, Branson, Burlington, Crowley County, Flagler, Fowler, Hi-Plains, Hoehne, Holyoke, Karval, Kim, Lamar, Las Animas, Liberty, Lonestar, Merino, New Raymer, Peetz, Pritchett, Rocky Ford, Rye, Sedgwick County, and Stratton.  (Photo by Emmett Jordan)

Eastern Colorado State FFA Rangeland Judging career Development Exercise (CDE) held in Kit Carson County. There were 230 FFA students participating in this year’s contest representing 24 schools from all over eastern Colorado. This picture shows one group of students judging a Limestone Breaks ecological site, one of two ecological sites located near Burlington. The participating teams were Akron, Arickaree, Branson, Burlington, Crowley County, Flagler, Fowler, Hi-Plains, Hoehne, Holyoke, Karval, Kim, Lamar, Las Animas, Liberty, Lonestar, Merino, New Raymer, Peetz, Pritchett, Rocky Ford, Rye, Sedgwick County, and Stratton. (Photo by Emmett Jordan)

FFA Rangeland Judgers Compete in Burlington

By Ben Berlinger, Society for Range Management, Youth Activities Chair

October 14, 2016 – FFA students and their advisors from high schools across eastern Colorado arrived at the Morgan Community College community building in Burlington October 5th.  The purpose was to compete in a rangeland plant identification exercise and participate in judging the soundness of the rangeland.  This state-level competition attracted an astounding 230 students representing 24 FFA Chapters from as far away as Peetz & Holyoke to the north and Rye & Pritchett to the south.

Team awards and top scoring individuals were recognized at the awards ceremony which was held at the conclusion of the competition.  The Colorado Section of the Society for Range Management (SRM) sponsored the individual honors while nineteen of the Conservation Districts across eastern Colorado and some local business sponsored the team plaques and provided a breakfast snack. Steve Poet, of the Seibert FFA Chapter, provided a delicious “Farm to Table” lunch for the students. The Burlington Conservation District provided the local coordination for the activity.  Jennie McCasland, Conservation District Manager in Burlington, handled the local arrangements for the Conservation District. Colorado Conservation Districts have always united to provide support for natural resources education for our youth in Colorado.

FFA rangeland judging CDE.  Students are judging the second of two ecological sites located near Burlington.  The judging consisted of properly identifying the site, determining the range condition & trend, and then recommending certain management practices that could be implemented.  Here the students are judging a Sandy Plains ecological site. (Photo by Emmett Jordan)

FFA rangeland judging CDE. Students are judging the second of two ecological sites located near Burlington. The judging consisted of properly identifying the site, determining the range condition & trend, and then recommending certain management practices that could be implemented. Here the students are judging a Sandy Plains ecological site. (Photo by Emmett Jordan)

The Colorado Section SRM individual awards were presented to McCrae Rider of the Burlington FFA Chapter for the high score on the combined site judging & plant identification (79% score); and to Cody Wilson of Pritchett FFA for second place honors with his combined score of 73% correct.  Micah Crane of the Pritchett FFA was recognized as the top individual for the plant identification part of the contest.  He scored 96% correct in this exercise requiring the identification of 50 rangeland plants and their characteristics.  McCrae will be presented with a $200 check from the Colorado Section SRM along with his plaque.

A group of FFA students during the rangeland plant identification contest. (Photo by Emmett Jordan)

A group of FFA students during the rangeland plant identification contest. (Photo by Emmett Jordan)

The winning high schools recognized at this year’s state competition included:

Pritchett FFA Chapter, 1st Place Gold Team; Burlington FFA Chapter, 2nd Place Gold Team; Lonestar FFA Chapter, 3rd Place Silver Team; Fowler FFA Chapter, 4th Place Silver Team; Kim FFA Chapter, 5th Place Bronze Team; Hoehne FFA Chapter, 6th Place Bronze Team. In the beginning rangeland judging class Arickaree FFA Chapter place first, New Raymer FFA Chapter was second, and Lonestar FFA Chapter placed third.

Rangeland plant identification involved learning the common plant names and characteristics of each plant. (Photo by Emmett Jordan)

Rangeland plant identification involved learning the common plant names and characteristics of each plant.
(Photo by Emmett Jordan)

The FFA rangeland judging contest is divided into two parts.  The native plant identification involves the naming of rangeland plants common to eastern Colorado together with rating important plant characteristics such as life span, grazing response, and palatability for cattle.  The second part of the contest takes place in the field and requires the students to judge the condition of two different rangeland sites.  Here the students must determine the plant composition of each site, the range condition compared to the reference plant community, the suggested stocking rate, and range trend.  Finally, based on their evaluation of the existing plant community, each student must select the appropriate management practice (or suite of practices) that would be recommended to the land owner for improvement of the rangeland resource and livestock performance.

The CO Section SRM & Colorado’s Conservation Districts congratulate all of the Colorado high school youth who participated in this year’s rangeland judging exercise and wish them continued success with their accomplishments to learn more about the conservation of our natural resources.

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Ben Berlinger, Youth Activities Chairman, Colorado Section of the Society for Range Management (SRM) presented the high scoring individuals with recognition for their outstanding achievement.  From top to bottom pictures are McCrae Rider, high combined score for both site judging & plant identification; Cody Wilson, second high combined score; and Micah Crane, high score on plant identification. (Photos by Emmett Jordan)

For More Information Contact:

For Immediate Release:                                                           BEN BERLINGER

October 14, 2016                                                                                  719-384-5408 x104