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WI State FFA Land and Soil Evaluation Contest 2022

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A collage of images including fields and soil pits from the 2022 FFA Land and Soil Evaluation Contest in Wisconsin

2022 Wisconsin State FFA Land Evaluation Contest moves to collegiate venue in hopes to ignite continued interest and career paths in soil health.

MADISON, Wis., October 6, 2022  – Over 120 students from 18 different schools competed in this year’s Wisconsin State FFA Land Evaluation Contest. For the second consecutive year, the contest was held at Southwest Wisconsin Technical College (SWTC), in Fennimore, Wisconsin with support from USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) staff. Students were given the opportunity to not only learn about judging land and soil, but to earn a chance to compete at the national contest that will take place in Oklahoma in May of next year.

In years past, the state contest was held in conjunction with Farm Technology Days; however, due to the pandemic, the contest was put on hold for two years. When the discussion began in 2021 on where the contest should take place in the future, Deb Ihm, SWTC, Director of Agriculture and Kory Stalsberg, SWTC, Farm Business and Production Management instructor, championed to be the first collegiate host of the contest.

Four soil pits providing a diversity of landscapes and soil were dug on SWTC adult farm management student, Ryan Wood’s farm site. Jeff Deniger, NRCS Area Resource Soil Scientist, was the lead judging official and Mike Adams, NRCS Soil Conservationist, helped monitor the soil pits. Students from all over southwest Wisconsin competed and the top five senior teams (Fennimore, Blackhawk, Lancaster, Monticello and River Ridge) earned the opportunity to compete in Oklahoma.

Land judging contests promote the importance of soil health and education, partnerships and teamwork. “It is important for NRCS to stay involved with competitions like this because of the benefit the students get from it. It takes a lot of different hands to put together a competition. NRCS can help facilitate these competitions by having our soil scientists do the official scoring as well as helping with any questions before and after the competition,” said Adams.

Adams participated in land judging contests as a student, which helped him determine what he was looking for in a career. “Now that I am an NRCS employee, helping out at these contests and seeing the high school students learn is one of my favorite parts of my job,” he added.

Land judging serves as a tool to teach participants about soil science, health and management. The competition is designed to guide participants toward the understanding and importance of basic soil properties as they affect the use and management of soils, and best practices to preserve and manage natural resources, including soil and water.

SWTC has had a great success in hosting the Wisconsin State FFA Land Evaluation Contest, but not without the support of sponsors, NRCS state soil scientists and staff, and other contributory volunteers. “These contests don’t happen overnight. It takes people who care about it, and enjoy doing it, and enjoy hosting it for these contests to keep going,” said Kory Stalsberg.

The State FFA Land and Soil Evaluation contest will continue to be held at a technical or four-year college over a two-year span.  Blackhawk Technical College in Monroe, Wisconsin, will host the next two years of competitions.

If you are interested in learning more about the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service or participating in an upcoming land judging contest in Wisconsin, visit


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