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South Dakota 4-H team wins at national judging contest

South Dakota 4-H team wins at national judging contest

By Scout Nelson

The Haakon/Bennett County 4-H range judging team brought pride to South Dakota by securing first place at the 2024 National Land and Range Judging Contest held in El Reno, Oklahoma. This event, which took place from April 30 to May 2, drew teams from across the nation to compete in various agricultural judging categories.

Emily Zickrick from Bennett County and Haakon County's Colden Kramer, Ashley Schriever, and Tara Schofield represented the winning team. Their outstanding performance was highlighted by Zickrick's first-place individual win in range judging, with her teammates also placing strongly.

The contest tested participants in several categories, including range, land, and homesite judging, with separate competitions for 4-H and FFA members. South Dakota was well-represented with seven 4-H and eleven FFA teams participating.

In range judging, contestants were challenged to identify 130 plants, assessing their suitability for habitat and agriculture, specifically for bobwhite quail and cattle. Preparation for this contest was intensive, involving months of practice, including adapting to the unfamiliar Oklahoma plant species.

The land judging portion required contestants to evaluate soil properties and suitability for agriculture in four different soil pits. Similarly, in homesite evaluation, contestants analyzed soil for residential suitability, assessing factors such as texture, depth, and erosion potential.

This competition not only tested the youths' knowledge and skills but also provided an educational experience, enhancing their understanding of environmental stewardship and agricultural practices.

The dedication of the South Dakota teams was evident in their success and the rigorous preparation guided by experts like Sandy Smart from SDSU and Tyler Swan from the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

The victory at this national contest underscores the effectiveness of the South Dakota 4-H program in fostering agricultural knowledge and leadership among young people. The detailed results of all participating South Dakota teams can be found in the competition’s comprehensive report, highlighting the depth of talent and commitment within the state's youth.

Photo Credit -4-h

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Categories: South Dakota, General

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