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2019 Manatee Land Judging Competition

The annual land judging competition sponsored by the Manatee River Soil and Water Conservation District was recently held on a property near Lake Parrish owned by L3 Partnership. Fifty students answered test questions concerning soil properties at four fields in such categories as slope, depth, texture, permeability, erosion, and nutrients. One of the fields represented a potential homesite location, and students were questioned on how well the land could serve as a building site.

Brandon Rowe, FFA student from Buffalo Creek Middle School, won the I.H. Stewart Award with the highest individual overall score, sponsored by ECo Consultants and presented by Alec Hoffner.  A tie-breaker was applied to determine the winner, as 4-H senior team member Savannah Cannon received the same score.

All middle school FFA teams competing were from Buffalo Creek Middle School. The team composed of Brandon Rowe, James Keen, Ciara Cannon, and Eric Gramby won the Callon Keen, Sr. Award for the team with the highest score overall, sponsored by members of the Keen family. For the second year in a row, a middle school team placed first overall in this competition.  The team from Buffalo Creek Middle School also won the middle school FFA division and the Travis Seawright award established recently to recognize the top scoring middle school team.

The second place middle school FFA team, included students Alex Peralta, John Keen, Amber Hansen, and Cara McLeod.  In third place, were Braden Connors, Mikayla Kelly, Duniya Morkus, and Hayden Neuman. Steve Harber advised all Buffalo Creek Middle School FFA students.

In the high school FFA division, the winning team was from Southeast High School advised by Mike Buckley, with students Kyle Evans, Julian Cruz, Marissa Jacquinto, and Kevin Nogues.

Placing second in the FFA high school division was a team advised by Janyel Taylor from Lakewood Ranch High School, with students Dylan Gostkowski, Chloe Flournoy, Kora Turner, and Savanah Freitag. A FFA high school team with students Zachary Stolz, Sorryl Cannon, Megan Hosker, and Savanna Francis taught by Julie Tillett from Palmetto High School placed third.

Placing first for 4-H seniors was a team including Savannah Cannon, Jo Hoffner, and Aly Pritchett.  First place junior 4-H individual was Emma Albert.   All 4-H students were advised by Alec Hoffner of ECo Consultants.

Guest teams participated from Ocoee and Clewiston FFA Chapters, along with a Pinellas county 4-H individual.

Martin Figueroa, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Senior Soil Scientist served as Chief Judge. Manatee River Soil and Water Conservation District supervisor Buddy Keen attended and facilitated significant preparations for the competition. Lunch was provided by Bart Hoopingarner and Doug Wilbanks representing Gowan and Syngenta, respectively. The Mosaic Company sponsored a large tent to provide shade for the contestants. Manatee County Cattlemen’s Association kindly provided tables and chairs for the lunch. After the contest the Chief Judge Figueroa and Craig Prink, the Fort Myers NRCS Major Land Resource Area (MLRA) Soil Survey Leader, reviewed the results with the students.

The first place FFA and 4-H teams are eligible to compete in the state land judging competition to be held in late March in Santa Rosa County.  For more information visit http://landjudging.org/