TAVARES — The Lake Soil and Water Conservation District is proud to announce two teams of local students participating in the Future Farmers of America (FFA) program placed first in the annual state land judging competition hosted by the Polk Soil and Water Conservation District on March 30.
East Ridge High School FFA and Clermont Middle School FFA both placed first in their divisions. East Ridge High will represent the state in the 56th Annual National Land and Range Judging Contest to be held May 2-3 in Oklahoma City.
From East Ridge High, Taylor Clemons prevailed as individual high scorer and Jacob Nyhuis was awarded third high scorer. Kayla Duckworth won individual high scorer for Clermont Middle.
For more information about the Annual State of Florida 4-H/FFA Land Judging Contest, log on to http://landjudging.ifas.ufl.edu. For more information about the Annual National Land and Range Judging Contest log on to www.landjudging.com.
According to the national land judging Web site, the idea of a land-judging contest was invented by three Oklahoma conservationists in 1942. They decided which soil qualities could be judged and developed scorecards to test skills. The idea caught on, and Oklahoma City has been hosting the national contest since 1952.
The 4-H and FFA participating teams qualify for the national event by placing among the top five teams at contests held in their home states. Teams match skills in judging the adaptability of land for various purposes including farming, range management and home-site construction.
Contestants take turns examining the soil in pits and trenches dug especially for the contest. Skills the teens test at the contest involve principles that can be valuable in career fields like environmental and agricultural management, natural resource conservation, home building and construction.
The actual contest site remains a secret until contest day, so no one has an unfair advantage. Contestants and coaches gather the morning of the contest to find out the official location. They then travel to the site, with a police escort, in a caravan of more than 100 cars spanning several miles.