Falls City Land Judging Team Headed to National Competition

Falls City Land Judging Team Headed to National Competition

LINCOLN, Nebraska – Students and instructors from 40 high schools met near Broken Bow to compete in State Land Judging Oct. 25. The Lower Loup Natural Resources District (NRD) partnered with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to host the annual competition.

With foggy skies and damp conditions, students judged on a terraced landscape currently enrolled in the USDA’s Farm Service Agency’s Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).

“As Nebraska’s largest Natural Resources District, which stretches from the eastern Sandhills in the west to fertile farm ground in the east, the soil types within the Lower Loup NRD are diverse,” said Lower Loup NRD General Manager Russell Callan. “Getting Nebraska’s high school students out onto the landscape is a great way for them to learn about our state’s natural resources. We were honored to host the 2023 Nebraska State Land Judging Contest and congratulate all the students from across Nebraska who took part.”

Land Judging is a high school competition that challenges students to gain a better understanding of soil structure and land evaluation. Teams consist of four students from the same FFA chapter, and a few individuals who qualified separate from a team. Each participant learns how to recognize the physical features of the soil, determine land capability for crop production, and evaluate management practices needed for proper stewardship.

During the competition, students judge four soil pits using an evaluation card to make assessments on: soil depth, surface texture, permeability, slope, thickness of surface and erosion. The evaluation card is scored to determine overall placements for individuals and the team. To compete in the state contest, teams advance from one of the seven regional competitions hosted across the state in October.

2023 State Land Judging Individual Champions:

Isaiah Neal, Alma
Isabel Cressler, The Career Academy (Lincoln)
Brock Niedfeldt, Falls City
Walker Ott, Wisner Pilger
Parker Smith, The Career Academy (Lincoln)

2023 State Land Judging Team Champions:

Falls City: Brock Niedfeldt, Ethan Morris, Kemper Foster, Lathan Richey
Wisner-Pilger: Walker Ott, Taylor Scholting, Delaney Boyer, Braxton Siebrandt
Alma: Isaiah Neal, Nolan Pfeil, Wyatt Isaacson, Karsten Bradley
Bishop Neumann (Wahoo): Jake Rezac, Chisum Wilson, Adam Furasek, Kamber Lechtenberg
The Career Academy (Lincoln): Isabel Cressler, Parker Smith, Sapphire Guzman, Johanna Roux

These top five Nebraska teams will advance to the national competition hosted in El Reno, Oklahoma, April 30-May 2, 2024. For more information on Nebraska Land Judging, visit www.nrdnet.org.