Land judging contests provide high school students with the opportunity to gain a better understanding of soil structure and land evaluation in a competitive setting. The contests strengthens each participant’s ability to recognize the physical features of the soil, determine land capability for crop production, and evaluate management practices needed for proper stewardship. The land evaluation process provides a setting for students to investigate the soils in their region, the environment that surrounds them, and their effect on their daily lives.
Through land judging contests, students assimilate important information about the world they live in. Their understanding of the soil and its relationship to plants, water and air are improved. The students look at a number of factors in land judging, depth of soil, surface texture, permeability, slope, erosion, and organic matter. They also develop knowledge of land treatment practices and where those practices can best be applied.
For more information on land judging in Nebraska, please visit the Nebraska Association of Resources Districts.
Range Judging: Range and pastures account for 52 percent of the land in the state of Nebraska. Range judging contests are an effective tool for teaching students about Nebraska’s rangelands and grasslands, and the benefits of good range management. Range judging contests are for everyone - youth, adults, beginners, professionals - whether from rural or urban areas. All that is required is a desire to learn more about rangeland and its management.
To perform well, contestants must be able to identify range plants by name and know their growth habits, livestock forage value, and other characteristics. An understanding of the range plant community, range condition, and range sites is also important. Contestants should know the concepts of proper range use, wildlife habitat management, and how to manage rangeland resources.
Contestants compete individually, in teams, or both. Teams are made up of three or four individuals. There are divisions for Junior Youth (freshmen and sophomores), Senior Youth (juniors and seniors), Adult, and Professional.
There are six Range Judging Areas in Nebraska. The Natural Resources Districts partner with the Natural Resources Conservation Service and University of Nebraska-Extension to organize and hold the contests. The NRDs handle the contest organization and scoring and NRCS plans and operates the field portion of the contest.
The State Range Judging Committee oversees range judging in the state. Members of the committee approve all rules and regulations and select the host counties for all contests. The committee meets on an annual basis, the evening before the state contest. For more information on the Nebraska Range Judging, visit Nebraska Society for Range Management