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2018 SD Rangeland & Soils Days: Learn About South Dakota's Most Precious Natural Resources

Group of rangeland soils day attendees in a field.

BROOKINGS, S.D. - South Dakota youth and adults are invited to participate in the 35th annual South Dakota Rangeland Days and 15th annual Soils Days which will be held June 26-27, 2018 in Redfield, South Dakota.

"Rangeland management learning activities are designed for a variety of age groups and expertise," said Dave Ollila, SDSU Extension Sheep Field Specialist and one of the event's organizers. "We begin with plant morphology and identification and include everything up to judging habitat suitability for cattle or grouse. Everyone attending Rangeland Days is sure to gain new knowledge from participating."

The two-day program is developed with training for those 8 years of age to adult.

Soils Days

Soils Days learning activities are designed for participants 14 to 18 years of age.

"Student will learn how to evaluate the physical properties of soil which include: soil texture, depth, erosion, slope, and stoniness," Ollila explained.

This information will help participants interpret permeability of water and air through the soil, surface run off and other factors which limit the soil's production potential.

Using this new found knowledge, students will determine the land's capability class which, in turn, allows them to make recommended conservation treatments using vegetative and mechanical erosion controls.

Students will also learn how to assess a building location for potential issues that would occur when developing a homesite.

After a day of active learning, the participants in both Rangeland and Soils Days will have the opportunity to measure how much they have learned by participating in contests, again designed specifically for their age level and expertise.

Competition will be offered for individuals and teams for all age groups.

Leadership Growth Opportunities for Youth 

Youth also have the opportunity to expand their leadership skills and rangeland management understanding by participating in student talks and development of educational displays.

Student displays: Youth are encouraged to enter a tabletop display on any range-related topic. Examples include: wildlife, food and habitat displays, a grazing plan for your ranch, etc.

Plant collections will be judged as a separate category and will be eligible for a special award. Plant collections will NOT count toward the Top Hand Award.

Student Talks: Talks may be presented on any aspect of range management or about any range resource. Visual aids are required; Power Point preferred.

Scout and Go Getter presentations should be more scientific than a revised 4-H demonstration. Time limits are: New Rangers 2 to 8 minutes, Wranglers 3 to 8 minutes, Scouts and Go Getters 5 to 8 minutes.

Competition & Awards

Plaques will presented to the first place individual in each event in each age division, and medallions to the first through third placing contestants in each event in each division.
Soils Top Hand: A silver belt buckle will go to the overall top scoring youth.

Rangeland Top Hand: A silver belt buckle will go to the overall top scoring youth in each division. Scores in the judging competition (40 percent), Student talks (35 percent), and displays (25 percent) will all count toward the award.

Participation in all three events is required to be eligible.

Scout/Go-Getter Student Talk: The Top Scout or Go Getter from South Dakota may be given the opportunity to present his/her talk at the 2019 Society for Range Management annual meeting in Minneapolis, Minneapolis.

Range & Soils Team Competition: Teams may consist of three or four members from the county 4-H program or FFA Chapter.

New Ranger and Wrangler teams will receive certificates. The top Go-Getter Range team and the top Soils team in 4-H will represent South Dakota at the National Land & Range Judging Contest held in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in May 2019.

NOTE: All team members must be current 4-H members and will not graduate before May 2019.

Registration Details

To pre-register for this event, and for more information, contact Dave Ollila at 605.394.1722.