The 59th annual land judging competition sponsored by the Manatee River Soil and Water Conservation District was held in late February at the Quattlebaum House at the Manatee County Water Treatment Plant. More than 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.
Craig Prink, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Fort Myers Major Land Resource Area (MLRA) Soil Survey Leader, served as Chief Judge. Manatee River Soil and Water Conservation District supervisor Buddy Keen attended. Lunch was provided by Bart Hoopingarner and Brett Reeder representing Gowan and UPL, respectively. The Mosaic Company sponsored a large tent for the contestants. Manatee County Cattlemen’s Association kindly provided tables and chairs for the lunch. Several NRCS, FWC, and Extension staff were instrumental in conducting a successful contest. After the contest, the Chief Judge reviewed the results with the students.
The following Manatee County FFA chapters participated: Buffalo Creek Middle School, Lakewood Ranch High School, Southeast High School, Palmetto High School, and Parrish Community High School. Guests teams participated from Clewiston FFA and Hillsborough County 4-H.
Kudos to our first place FFA and 4-H teams, who qualified to compete in the state land judging competition in Alachua County. The contest, scheduled in late March, has been cancelled due to COVID-19. The students worked very hard to qualify and we are proud of them. For more information visit http://landjudging.org/
I.H. STEWART AWARD
Kyle Evans, FFA student from Southeast High School, won the I.H. Stewart Award with the highest individual overall score, sponsored by Ardurra Group, Inc. and presented by Alec Hoffner.
HIGH SCHOOL FFA DIVISION
1ST PLACE: Lakewood Ranch High School-Talia Beltramea, Savannah Cannon, Kailee Carson, and Chloe Flournoy-advised by Janyel Taylor. This team was also presented the Callon Keen Sr award, sponsored by the Keen family, for the highest scoring team overall.
2ND PLACE: Southeast High School-Kyle Evans, Eliece Shorten, Julian Cruz, and Robert Bender-advised by Mike Buckley.
3RD PLACE: Parrish Community High School-James Keen, Marissa Souders, Mikayla Kelly, and Jack Ingram-advised by Susan Grainger.
MIDDLE SCHOOL FFA DIVISION
1ST PLACE: Buffalo Creek Middle School-John Keen, Cara-Ann McLeod, Ciara Cannon, and Amber Hansen-won the Travis Seawright Award for the middle school team with the highest score overall, sponsored by Manatee County land judging alumni.
2ND PLACE: Buffalo Creek Middle School-Duniyah Morkus, Hayden Neumann, Connor Griffin, and Jackson Hancock.
3RD PLACE: Buffalo Creek Middle School-Blake Willis and Gregory Collins.
Steve Harber advised all Buffalo Creek Middle School FFA students.
4-H INTERMEDIATE AND SENIOR DIVISIONS
1ST PLACE: 4-H senior division-Alyssa Pritchett and Madison Thomas.
1ST PLACE: 4-H intermediate team-Emma Albert, Sydney Bliss, and Cole Arrant.
Alec Hoffner of Ardurra Group, Inc. coached all 4-H competitors.