2021 Land Judging Contest

The 60th annual Land Judging competition, sponsored by the Manatee River Soil and Water Conservation District, was held in late February at Rye Preserve in Manatee County. Thirty-one 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. Due to COVID-19, attendance was limited and safety precautions were taken.

Isabelle Giuliani, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Area 3 Resource Soil Scientist, served as Chief Judge. Manatee River Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor Buddy Keen and Alec Hoffner with Ardurra Group, Inc. presented awards. A delicious boxed lunch was sponsored by Bart Hoopingarner and Brett Reeder representing Gowan and UPL, respectively. Manatee County Cattlemen’s Association kindly provided tables and chairs. Sarasota County and Manatee County Extension staff and NRCS 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, W.D. Sugg Middle School, Lakewood Ranch High School, Palmetto High School, and Parrish Community High School. Manatee County 4-H members also competed.

We are very proud of the first place FFA and 4-H teams who qualified to compete in the state land judging competition! The contest is scheduled for late March in Alachua County. For more information visit http://landjudging.org/



1ST PLACE: Lakewood Ranch High School – Morgan McGinnis, Talia Beltramea, Savannah Cannon, Abigail Lillibridge – advised by Janyel Taylor.

2ND PLACE: Parrish Community High School – James Keen, Jack Ingram, Mikayla Kelly, Marissa Souders – advised by Susan Grainger.

3RD PLACE: Palmetto High School – Amber Hansen, Hayden Neumann, Lauren Thompson (not pictured: Megan Hosker) – advised by Julie Tillett.

Names as above, left to right



1ST PLACE: Buffalo Creek Middle School – Duniyah Morkus, Ciara Cannon, John Keen, Kaycee Kirby – advised by Steve Harber.

2ND PLACE: Buffalo Creek Middle School – Jakob Stewart, Owne Griffin, Connor Griffin, Greg Collins – advised by Steve Harber.

3RD PLACE: W.D. Sugg Middle School – Francisco Cifuentes, Jacob Fuentes, Cheyanne Clark – advised by Kimberley Lough.

Names as above, left to right

1ST PLACE: 4-H Junior/Intermediate Division – Jake Pritchett, Emma Albert, Lane Spivey, Kelton Mathis – advised by Tom and Amy Arrant, Steve Harber, and Denny Albert.

1ST PLACE: 4-H Senior DivisionCaissey Chase, Holly Bergmann, Sydney Bliss, Alyssa Pritchett – advised by Tom and Amy Arrant, Steve Harber, and Denny Albert.

Names as above, left to right


Talia Beltramea, FFA student from Lakewood Ranch High School, won the I.H. Stewart Award, sponsored by Ardurra Group, Inc., with the highest individual overall score.


The team from Lakewood Ranch High School – Talia Beltramea, Savannah Cannon, Abigail Lillibridge, and Morgan McGinnis – won the Callon Keen Sr Award, sponsored by the Keen family, for the highest scoring team overall.


A team from Buffalo Creek Middle School – Kaycee Kirby, John Keen, Duniyah Morkus, and Ciara Cannon – won the Travis Seawright Award, sponsored by the Manatee County Land Judging Alumni, for the highest scoring Middle School team.



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Posted: March 9, 2021

Category: 4-H & Youth, Agriculture, Conservation, Events, Natural Resources, UF/IFAS, UF/IFAS Extension
Tags: 4-H, Land Judging, NRCS

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