Over 900 FFA and 4-H students and sponsors from across the country will converge on Oklahoma City May 1 to 3 for the 67th annual National Land and Range Judging Contest hosted by the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts. Qualifying teams from over 30 states will challenge their knowledge of soil and plant science, land management and natural resources conservation in the field.
Oklahoma is expected to send at least 10 teams to the event. Officiating and on-site technical assistance for all three days of the contest is provided by the Oklahoma Conservation Commission, Oklahoma State University, The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, and USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.
"Countless participants of this contest go on to be the next generation of farmers, ranchers and conservationists,” said Gary O’Neill, State Conservationist for NRCS in Oklahoma. “The amount of work students put in to qualify for the national contest helps build a foundation of knowledge and experience in soil and water conservation. We’re proud to be a part of that.”
The contest comprises three events: land, range and home site evaluation. During the first two days of the event, teams will have the opportunity to familiarize themselves with Oklahoma’s soils and rangeland at two practice sites. The official contest on the third day takes place at a secret location that is revealed the morning of the contest. This ensures all teams are experiencing the official site for the first time.
Contest winners will be announced the evening of May 3 during a banquet at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. The OSU Department of Plant and Soil Science will offer a $1,500 scholarship to the top-scoring individual in the land judging contest and a $1,500 scholarship to the top-scoring individual in the homesite evaluation contest. The student can be from either the 4-H or FFA division. To be eligible, the individual must enroll at OSU as a Plant and Soil Science Major. In addition, if the student has a high school GPA of 3.5 or better and ACT of at least 24, OSU will add an additional $1,500 to the scholarship for a total of $3,000. OSU will commit that the scholarship is renewable for up to three more years contingent upon funding availability and a college GPA of 3.0 or better.
The contest is sponsored by Oklahoma AgCredit, OACD, The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, American Farmers & Ranchers, National Conservation Foundation, The Sirloin Club of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City Convention and Visitors Bureau, Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts Auxiliary, Oklahoma Farm Bureau, Wyndham Garden OKC Airport, Catering by Finley, Parker Land and Cattle Company, Oklahoma Association of Conservation District Employees, Soil and Water Conservation Society-Oklahoma Chapter, and Society for Range Management-Oklahoma and Texas Section. Supporting government agencies include USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, Oklahoma Conservation Commission, Oklahoma Department of Career & Technology Education, Oklahoma State University College of Agriculture Services and Natural Resources, and Oklahoma 4-H.