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Nolan County SWCD host annual Land and Range Judging Competition

Nolan County SWCD host annual Land and Range Judging Competition

Story by Jaime Tankersley and Mandi Ligon

For the second consecutive year, students from across Texas have gathered in Sweetwater, Texas to participate in the Nolan County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) Land and Range Judging Contest. SWCD Directors, local Farm Service Agency (FSA) representatives, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) staff and local volunteers make this event possible by donating time to guide students through the course.

It has been said that soil is our most basic natural resource, not only in agriculture, but all life on earth is dependent upon the wise use of soil. The land judging portion of the contest introduces students to factors involved in the stewardship of soil, which includes soil texture, permeability, total depth, percent slope, prior erosion loss and how quickly surface water moves across the landscape. Students use these factors to determine land class and to recommend certain land management and conservation practices to ensure the sustained productivity of agricultural sites.

The range judging contest helps students develop an interest in the industry that feeds our world, as well as, helping them to understand the ways to better improve and conserve the natural resources of rangeland. There are four different sites. Two sites are plant identification and two sites are range site judging. During the contest, students must identify 30 different species of grasses, legumes, forbs and woody plants. Not only do they have to know the plant name, they have to determine their habitat (perennial or annual), season of growth (cool or warm), origin (native or introduced), grazing value (good, fair, poor) and grazing response (decreaser, increaser or invader).

On the range sites the students have to determine the degree of use (light, proper, close or severe), the kind of range site (bottom land, deep upland, shallow upland, very shallow upland, deep sand), the range condition class (excellent, good, fair, poor), range management practices and the predominate plants.

The results for this year�s land judging contest are as follows:

Rank Team Name Score
1 Lubbock-Cooper 647
2 Idalou 580
3 Sweetwater 571
4 Anson 570
5 Coleman 560

The top ten individuals from the land judging contest were recognized for their hard work and top scores. The top individuals starting with the high point participant included: Ryan Heinrich and Grant Heinrich, both of Lubbock Cooper, Kameron Pugh of Sweetwater, Thomas Moreno of Anson, Bradley Adkins and Garrett Gunn, both of Idalou, Marti Walker of Patton Springs, Reece Albert of Wall, Jeff Lefevre of Coleman and Andrew Smith of Sweetwater.

The results for the top range judging teams include:

Rank Team Name Score
1 Idalou 1087
2 Anson-A team 1030
3 Weatherford 894
4 Shallowater 792
5 Anson-B team 647

Top ten individuals for the range judging contest were also honored at the awards presentation after the contest. High point students included: Keid Williams, Paxton Hettler and Casey Furgeson all of Idalou, Nicollet Moore, Colton Bradshaw, Jaxon Ward, and Danielle Soliz all of Anson, Austin Ingram of Weatherford, Joseph Hernandez of Anson and Tyler Crandall of Weatherford.

Nolan County SWCD would like to congratulate this year�s winners and thank all of the schools for coming out to this year�s contest. For more information about next year�s contest please contact Sweetwater NRCS/SWCD office at 325-235-4485.

Students from across Texas gathered on the Brooks Ranch located outside of Sweetwater, Texas to participate in the 2010 Nolan County Soil and Water Conservation District Land and Range Judging Contest.

Joe Bob Watson (center), NRCS range management specialist, welcomes students to the Brooks Ranch for the 2010 Nolan County Soil and Water Conservation District Land and Range Judging Contest.
Students from across Texas gathered on the Brooks Ranch located outside of Sweetwater, Texas to participate in the 2010 Nolan County Soil and Water Conservation District Land and Range Judging Contest. Joe Bob Watson (center), NRCS range management specialist, welcomes students to the Brooks Ranch for the 2010 Nolan County Soil and Water Conservation District Land and Range Judging Contest.
Students from across Texas participated in this year�s Land and Range Judging Contest held in Sweetwater, Texas. The event was hosted by the Nolan County Soil and Water Conservation District. The Brooks Ranch located outside of Sweetwater, Texas was this year�s host for the Nolan County Soil and Water Conservation District Land and Range Judging Contest.
Students from across Texas participated in this year�s Land and Range Judging Contest held in Sweetwater, Texas. The event was hosted by the Nolan County Soil and Water Conservation District. The Brooks Ranch located outside of Sweetwater, Texas was this year�s host for the Nolan County Soil and Water Conservation District Land and Range Judging Contest.