Love of the Land Runs in the Family
When Lyndsae Reckner was called to the stage with four others at the National Land Judging Contest 4-H and FFA awards assembly in Oklahoma City in 2004, she was thrilled she had at least achieved the top five. Little did she know that she would become the 4-H National Champion in land judging for home sites (how well the sites would support the foundation of a building, lawns and landscaping, sewage lagoons, septic tanks and roads).
Lyndsae was just 17 at the time and she competed against 123 students from 31 states for this title. Contestants evaluated the four sites based on the characteristics of its soil texture, slope, permeability, depth, flooding and erosion. They turned in cards rating each of these characteristics and Lyndsae had three out of four perfect cards. One of her teammates was her 15 year old sister Brystol who had two perfect judging cards.
Lyndsae and Brystol come from a tradition of excellence in 4-H showmanship and FFA land judging. They have 7 brothers and 2 other sisters in their family of 13, including their Mom Kathy and their Dad, NRCS Assistant State Conservationist for Field Operations Gary Reckner. Their older brother Bryce came in second at the Florida state level competition the previous year.
Fast forward nine years, and the legacy continues. This year, the twin Reckner daughters Bethany and Kimberly's team from Webster County, tied for 1st place at the Kentucky State Land Judging Competition. Bethany received 1st place individually and received a ribbon and plaque from Commissioner of Agriculture James Comer.
On May 2, the Webster County 4-H team competed in Oklahoma for the national title. NRCS Lead District Conservationist Mike Andrews from Webster County is the coach and Lyndsae Reckner St. Clair, former national champion, is the assistant coach. The team did not place nationally, but Bethany Reckner placed 9th place nationally in the individual 4-H division.
Gary said, “Land judging seems to be a family thing. Soil runs through their blood. My father was a land judging coach for FFA in Maryland while he was a Vo-Ag teacher and an advisor to the team while he was a SCS (Soil Conservation Service) conservationist. So these kids of mine are land judgers of the 3rd generation.”
Pictured from left: Michael Andrews, Lead DC and Team Coach, Kathryn Leslie, Kullen Floyd, Bethany Reckner, and Kimberly Reckner, and Lyndsae Reckner St. Clair, Assistant Coach.