09-19-19 Colorado FFA Range Judging and Plant Identification Events Held in New Raymer and Branson

Plant ID judging at Regional Contests involves identifying the common names of 30 range plants along with important characteristics of each plant. Northeast Regional event at Prairie School.

Colorado FFA Range Judging and Plant Identification Events Held in New Raymer and Branson

Ben Berlinger, Colorado Section of the Society for Range Management, Youth Activities Chair

The Northeast and Southeast Colorado Regional FFA Range Judging and Plant Identification Career Development Exercises (CDE) were held on September 16 at the Prairie School near New Raymer and on September 18 in Branson, CO.  The events were hosted by the New Raymer and Branson FFA Chapters.  Seventy-seven students participated representing eight FFA chapters for the event at the Prairie School.  At the event in Branson 217 students participated representing 17 FFA Chapters.

FFA range judging places the students in the field to make real-life judgments about the past grazing management and best management practices to recommend for range improvement. Malpais Breaks ecological site near Branson, CO.

Sponsors for this youth educational event included the West Greeley, Branson-Trinchera, Spanish Peaks-Purgatoire River, Upper Huerfano, and Bent Conservation Districts, the Colorado State Land Board, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).  Their funding supports the purchasing of awards, ribbons, and plaques, and providing refreshments and lunch for the students and their Ag teachers.

Bobbie Schreiner, Prairie FFA, receives her award from the CO Section SRM for high score on the site judging and plant identification. Presenting were (l-r) Ashley Scott, New Raymer FFA Chapter Secretary, Bobbie Schreiner, and Ben Berlinger, CO Section SRM Youth Activities Chair.

The team results at Prairie School were as follows: Gold went to the Prairie FFA Chapter, Silver was awarded to the Holyoke FFA Chapter, and Bronze was awarded to the Merino FFA Chapter.  The Advanced team results at Branson were: Gold was awarded to the Hoehne FFA Chapter, Silver was awarded to the Branson FFA Chapter, and Bronze was awarded to the Fowler FFA Chapter.  The results for the Beginner teams were: Branson, Gold; Hoehne, Silver; and Cheraw, Bronze.  Gold, silver, and bronze ribbons were presented to the top scoring individuals at both events.

Josh Waller, Hoehne FFA, receives his CO Section SRM award for achieving the high score on site judging and plant identification at the FFA range judging event held in Branson.

The Colorado Section Society for Range Management (CSSRM) presented plaques at the award ceremonies.  CSSRM recognizes high scoring individuals for combined scores on site judging and plant identification, as well as the high individual score on the plant identification.  Bobbie Schriener, New Raymer FFA, and Josh Waller, Hoehne FFA were honored with the high score for combined site judging and plant identification.  Ms. Schriener and Mr. Waller were also awarded high score on plant identification.  Congratulations go to Bobbie and Josh for this outstanding achievement!

FFA range judging involves the students in judging the condition of two ecological sites.  Several attributes are determined by the students including ecological site name, plant composition, range condition class, vegetation basal, litter cover, and bare ground percentages, suggested stocking rate, apparent rangeland trend, and recommended best management practices.  In addition, the students must identify the common names of 30 rangeland plants and designate important attributes about each plant.

One more eastern Colorado FFA range judging event will be held this fall.  The state range judging event is scheduled for October 2.  It will be held at the Seibert Community Center, with the hosting chapters being High Plains (Seibert), Stratton, Flagler, and Burlington FFA.

Individuals wanting more information or desiring to assist with any of these exciting and education youth events may contact Ben Berlinger, CSSRM Youth Activities Chair, at 719-469-3895 or bberling@bresnan.net.