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SDSU Extension Announces Rangeland and Soils Day Results

BROOKINGS, S.D. -  While the 2021 Rangeland and Soils Day event looked a little different this year due to current world events, the annual contest still drew several 4-H and FFA participants from across the state. Held on June 2, the event was split into two locations — a western South Dakota contest hosted by the Jones County Conservation District in Murdo and an eastern South Dakota contest hosted by the Spink County Conservation District in Redfield. The first place 4-H teams in each judging event from both contest locations will now advance to the National Land and Range Judging Contest in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in May 2022.

"This contest really takes the practical applications of rangeland ecology and soil properties and puts it into context for the students in a real-world experience," says Krista Ehlert, Assistant Professor and South Dakota State University (SDSU) Extension Range Specialist, and co-host of the event.

In the Rangeland Judging event, contestants use their knowledge of soil and grassland plants to assess habitat suitability for livestock and wildlife. They also identify plants and their characteristics, determine if a certain site is meeting the management goals and recommend management practices to improve the site's functionality.

In the Land Judging event, contestants use their knowledge of soil and land to determine soil properties, recommend land treatments and fertility treatments and determine land capability class. Contestants also determine a site's suitability for homesite development including foundations, lawns, septic systems and sewage lagoons.

Contestants for each contest are evaluated individually, then individual scores are grouped together for a team score. Ehlert says, overall, students had a successful day of learning and practicing their range and land judging skills.

"It's great to see the smiles on the students' faces when they hear the results of all their hard work and practice," says Emily Helms, State Rangeland Management Specialist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

Redfield Results

Redfield contest results were:

Top Individuals in Range Judging

  • 1st: Kirstie Munsen, Wessington Springs 4-H
  • 2nd: Austin Schimke, Wessington Springs 4-H
  • 3rd: Matthew Mork, Day County 4-H
  • 4th: Kaden Wolter, Wessington Springs 4-H
  • 5th: Brent Snaza, Day County 4-H

Top 4-H Range Judging Teams

  • 1st: Wessington Springs 4-H (Kirstie Munsen, Austin Schimke and Kadon Wolter)
  • 2nd: Day County 4-H (Chris Gaikowski, Brent Snaza, Matthew Mork and Avery Wyffels)

Top FFA Range Judging Team

  • 1st: Webster FFA (Cade Roerig, Treyvon Czmowski and Sage Sippel)

Top Individuals in Land Judging

  • 1st: Andry Brooker, Hitchcock-Tulare 4-H
  • 2nd: Brayden LaBore, Wessington Springs 4-H
  • 3rd: Blake Larson, Wessington Springs 4-H,
  • 4th: Carter Gaikowski, Wessington Springs 4-H
  • 5th: Tanner Eide, Potter County 4-H

Top 4-H Land Judging Teams

  • 1st: Wessington Springs 4-H (Brayden LaBore, Blake Larson and Carter Gaikowski) 
  • 2nd: Hitchcock-Tulare (Andy Brooker, Elliot Hartford and Harlee Nielson)
  • 3rd:  Potter County 4-H (Tanner Eide, Bobbi Eide, Garrett Zeigler and Treyson Zeigler)

Top FFA Land Judging Team

  • 1st: Wilmont FFA (Parker Wika)

Murdo Results

Murdo contest results were: 

Top Individuals in Range Judging

  • 1st: Tate Ollila, Butte-Lawrence-Jackson County 4-H
  • 2nd: Morgan Mackaben, Butte-Lawrence-Jackson County 4-H
  • 3rd: Bennett Gordon, Butte-Lawrence-Jackson County 4-H
  • 4th: Megan Sanders, Hot Springs 4-H
  • 5th: Farynn Knutson, Butte-Lawrence-Jackson County 4-H 

Top 4-H Range Judging Teams

  • 1st: Butte-Lawrence-Jackson County 4-H (Tate Ollila, Morgan Mackaben, Bennett Gordon and Farynn Knutson)
  • 2nd: Hot Springs 4-H (Will Thuhl, Megan Sanders, Xavier Wright, Rhlannon Allen, Kyle Sanders, Rhianna Allen and Remington Allen)
  • 3rd: Sunshine Bible Academy (Tanner Fox, Adrick Schoon, Seth Schoon and Jimmy Burma)

Top Individuals in Land Judging

  • 1st: Amanda Blare, Winner 4-H 
  • 2nd: Rowdy Moore, Winner 4-H
  • 3rd: Clay Sell, Winner 4-H

Top 4-H Land Judging Team

  • 1st: Winner 4-H (Amanda Blaire, Rowdy Moore and Clay Sell)