10-11-18 FFA State Range Judging in Sterling, CO

Figure 1: Students completing the rangeland inventory, site condition, and range management scenario on the Loamy Slopes ecological site.

FFA STATE RANGE JUDGING in STERLING, CO

By: Nakayla Lestina, USDA-NRCS, Sterling, CO

October 11, 2018 – On October 3, 2018, high school students from across the eastern part of Colorado competed in the State FFA Range Judging Contest at Northeastern Junior College (NJC) in Sterling, CO. The Range Judging Contest is one of many Career Development Events FFA students can participate in to test their skills and knowledge learned through their agricultural education classes.

Through the Range Judging Contest, students are tested on their plant identification skills and reading the landscape to determine the ecological site, condition of the rangeland, amount of usable forage, and number of animals that can be supported on the land. There were 268 FFA students representing 26 FFA chapters who participated in this event. Students were divided into three groups to identify 40-50 different range plant species and two ecological sites. During the plant identification portion, students had 60 seconds to identify the plant before moving on to the next plant. At the two ecological sites, students had 35 minutes to complete a rangeland inventory to determine the ecological site, condition of the site, and a range management scenario that was provided and required the students to recommend the best management practices. Judging the two ecological sites also tested the students plant identification skills.

Figure 2: Students completing the rangeland inventory, site condition, and range management scenario on the Overflow ecological site

Awards, provided by the Colorado Section of the Society for Range Management (SRM), were presented to the highest scoring individuals. The high scoring team awards were presented by FFA State Officers. Nathan Shannon, Kim FFA Chapter, was the highest scoring individual for the plant identification section. Matt Doherty, Kim FFA Chapter, was the highest overall scoring individual. For the teams, 1st Place was awarded to the Kim FFA Chapter followed by Branson FFA (2nd Place) and Fowler FFA (3rd Place). Congratulations to all the students who participated in this event.

Thank you to all the FFA Advisors, bus drivers, local Conservation Districts, NJC staff, NJC Agricultural Department faculty, NJC Ag students, the Colorado State Land Board and the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service for helping make this event a success for all the participating high school students. A special thank you goes out to Rick Jackson, David & Carson Guenzi, and Mike’s Meat Market for allowing us to use their rangeland and access for this educational youth event.

For More Information Please Contact: Nakayla Lestina at Nakayla.Lestina@co.usda.gov