Muddy good time: FFA, 4-H teams compete in 64th annual National Land and Range Contest

CONCHO, OKLA. (May 11, 2015)—More than 500 FFA and 4-H members from 34 states braved muddy trenches last week to compete in the 64th National Land and Range Judging Contest held May 5-7, 2015.

“After all this time, I continue to be impressed by the skill and passion of these kids,” said Phillip “Pete” McDaniel, the first Range Judging National Champion in 1955. He continues to assist with the contest to this day and was recognized as 2015 Contest Honoree.

After two days of studying Oklahoma’s unique range and soil types at practice sites in Oklahoma City, contestants bussed to the official competition site on Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal land in Concho, Okla. The official contest location is kept secret from teams up to the moment the bus caravan departs for the site on day three.

During the contest, teams judge the quality of soil and rangeland for agricultural and residential uses. This involves entering four foot pits to inspect soil strata and examining the topography and plant life on a range.

“At the national level, these high school teams are operating with a high degree of competency. It’s wonderful to see them get to utilize the land and natural resource management skills they’ve been honing in the state competitions leading them here,” said Steve House, President of the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts.

National Winners

National championship trophies were awarded at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum to team and individual winners in each category of competition: land judging, range judging and homesite evaluation. Each category included FFA and 4-H awards.

In FFA Land Judging, the Fairfield, Ind. chapter won in the team category. Skyler Payton of the Marion County, W. Va. chapter won first place in the individual category. For 4-H, the North Miami, Ind. club was the winning team and Leah Ritter of the Rensselaer, Ind. club was the 4-H individual winner. Glen Jones of Denver, Ind. won the Adult competition.

In FFA Range Judging Contest, the Jacksboro, Texas chapter won the team competition, and Johnny Callan of the Jacksboro, Texas chapter won the individual award. The Jackson County, S.D. club won the 4-H team category, and Lindsey VanderMay of the Jackson County, S.D. club placed first in the 4-H individual category. Hunter Hackley of Texas won the Adult competition.

In the FFA Homesite Evaluation Contest, the Hondo, Texas #2 chapter won the team competition, and Milan Pozderac of the Fredericktown, Ohio chapter, won the individual award. The North Miami, Ind. club won the 4-H team category, and Sammy Tims of the North Miami, Ind. club, placed first in the 4-H individual category. Glen Jones of Denver, Ind. won the Adult competition.

Sponsors and Supporting Agencies

This year’s contest was sponsored by Farm Credit Associations of Oklahoma, Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts, The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, American Farmers & Ranchers, the National Conservation Foundation, The Sirloin Club of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City Convention & Visitors Bureau, El Dorado Agriculture Products, Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts Auxiliary, Oklahoma Farm Bureau, Biltmore Hotel Oklahoma, Catering by Finley, Lee Roy and Sylvia Hudson, Parker Land and Cattle Company, Oklahoma Association of Conservation District Employees, Soil & Water Conservation Society Oklahoma Chapter and Society for Range Management Oklahoma Section

Supporting governments and agencies were Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes, Oklahoma Conservation Commission, Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, Oklahoma Department of Career & Technology Education, Oklahoma State University and U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Photos of the event can be found here.