Elgin FFA competes at State Range Judging Contest

The State Range Judging contest was recently held near Imperial in southwest Nebraska.
According to Advisor Julia Schwartz, Elgin FFA sent a senior team of Kyle Schumacher, Faith Kinney, Kira Widger and Hunter Reestman to compete.
Schumacher placed in the top 25 percent for Elgin. Overall, he placed 40th out of 177 senior division contestants.
Long-standing tradition
Conserving native range resources and teaching others to do the same is a long standing tradition in Nebraska.
In 1954 a group of people associated with the Nebraska chapter of the Society for Range Management began what is now known as the Nebraska Range Judging Contest.
Originally, this contest was developed for adults who had an interest in range management, but it evolved into a tremendous learning opportunity for high school students and continues to encourage stewardship among Nebraska youth today. Although any interested youth or adult is welcome to participate, the most common participants are from schools that have Vocational Agriculture Programs through Future Farmers of America (FFA) or youth involved in 4-H.
Prior to their contest, students work with FFA instructors, science teachers, extension educators, 4-H leaders, and parents to learn to identify grasses and forbs and characteristics about them such as season of growth, life span, value to livestock, and whether it is native or introduced.
Additionally, they learn how to determine the degree of use a given area of range has and how to calculate a proper stocking rate for the range.
Each September, there are six area contests held across Nebraska and then a state contest, after contestants have had a chance to try their hand at an area contest. Additionally, Old West Regional is another contest hosted by Nebraska on a rotational basis. The number of students influenced through these contests is staggering, yet encouraging, especially for those with a passion for range management. In 2013, there were 1197 high school students who competed in the six area contests.
Earlier competition
Other contests in September had many Elgin FFA members competing among area chap-ters in range judging. On Sept. 11, the Area V contest was held Southwest of Atkinson.
This contest had Schuma-cher placing 11th overall, Faith Kinney was 13th, Hunter Reestman placed 16th and Kira Widger was 17th in the senior division. This division had 75 students competing. These four members also were the fourth place team.
In the junior division Marissa Preister was 16th, Kirsten Krebs was 22nd and Harlie Bode was 30th out of 139 individuals. The junior team of Marissa, Harlie, Kirsten and Alyssa Burenheide was fifth overall out of 37 teams.
The District X (North) range judging competition, hosted by West Holt, was held on Sept. 17 south of Stuart. The top results for Elgin were: Schumacher – sixth overall, Reestman – 14th, Widger -19th  out of 48 in the Senior Division.
In the Junior Division Preister was 17th overall and Krebs finished 18th out of 105 individuals.