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Land Judging Part of Area 9 Career Development Event

Land Judging Part of Area 9 Career Development Event

Story by Beverly Moseley

Area 9 Career Development Events were held recently in Huntsville. Numerous competitions including land judging took place throughout the day.

�Today they are learning about soil texture, infiltration and permeability,� said Doug Ullrich, Jr., a professor in agricultural education at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville.

The Area 9 Career Development Event was held at Gibbs Ranch which is operated by Sam Houston State University. Fifteen high school teams of four students each competed during the event. The top two high scoring teams were from Madisonville and Rusk. They will move on to compete at the state level at Tarleton State University in Stephenville.

It was the first year for Julie Riess, 14, of Grapeland High School in Grapeland, to compete in the event.

�I want to keep doing it,� Riess said. �You learn about the soil, the environment and how to take care of it.�

She plans on attending college and is considering obtaining a soil science degree.

Ullrich said that the knowledge the students are gaining can be taken and applied on their own farm, ranch or even garden.

Students were judged on their knowledge of factors such as soil slope, root depth and erosion control. Dennis Brezina, a soil scientist for USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service said students were evaluating the thickness of topsoil, the percentage of erosion at a site and surface texture. Students also were asked to determine slope of the land classifications, such as nearly level to steep.

�I was involved in the Future Farmers of America and I think it is very important that our agency work with these FFA students at field events such as this. I believe that these students are the future of our agency. Some of them will one day work for our agency as a soil conservationist or soil scientist. Who knows, one of them could even be a future state soil scientist or state conservationist. My hope is that these contests will have a positive influence on what these students choose to do with their lives,� Brezina said.

Dennis Brezina, a soil scientist for USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, visits with students after the land judging contest answering some of their follow-up questions.

Julie Riess, 14, of Grapeland High School in Grapeland, Texas, is sampling the subsoil to determine its permeability.
Dennis Brezina, a soil scientist for USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, visits with students after the land judging contest answering some of their follow-up questions. Julie Riess, 14, of Grapeland High School in Grapeland, Texas, is sampling the subsoil to determine its permeability.
Students mark their score sheets at one of four sites used during the Area 9 land judging contest.  
Students mark their score sheets at one of four sites used during the Area 9 land judging contest.