North Dakota 4-H teams place at national contest
North Dakota 4-H range and land judging teams and individuals bring home honors from the 69th National Land and Range Judging Contest held recently in Oklahoma.
The Walsh County 4-H land judging team placed sixth overall in the nation. Team members were Connor Hodek, Owen Zikmund, Andrew Myrdal and Merit Ellingson. Hodek placed fifth high individual, and Zikmund placed ninth high individual overall.
In land judging, participants use skills like texturing, estimating slope and determining the depth of surface and subsurface horizons. Land judging helps prepare our future leaders to protect and improve land through developing an appreciate for soil, soil structure, the power of erosion, and the knowledge of proper land treatment.
The Oliver County and McKenzie County 4-H range judging teams placed third and fourth overall in the nation, respectively.
Oliver County team members were Reanna Schmidt, Katie Frank, Breanna Vosberg, Elena Sorge and Rylee Hintz. Schmidt was seventh high individual, and Frank placed ninth.
McKenzie County members were Paige Delaney, Sylvia Boekelman, Ryan Pingel and Luke Smith. Delaney was sixth high individual overall.
Range judging teams learn how to “read” the range to make decisions related to maintaining and improving ecosystems. They suggest a ranch plan and stocking rates and must understand plant communities.
“Soils are one of our most precious natural resources that contain essential nutrients for growing plants to thrive,” said Leigh Ann Skurupey, interim chair of the Center for 4-H Youth Development. “Both land and range judging contribute to our youth as future leaders, cultivating opportunities to build life skills to thrive in any career field, such as decision making, critical thinking, teamwork skills and organizational skills. These contests also build practical skills related to soil science and agriculture.”
Nearly 850 4-H and FFA students and over 250 coaches from 34 states competed in the National Land and Range Judging Contest. After two days of practice at sites in the Oklahoma City area, the contest was held near El Reno, Oklahoma, at the Cheyenne Arapaho Tribal Headquarters.
North Dakota 4-H empowers youth to become true leaders through opportunities to develop life skills, positive relationships and community awareness.