You would probably have to look hard to find many local youth competitions that are older than the Manatee County land judging contest, now in its 52nd year.
The contest is important because it has everything to do with everything -- from farming to construction.
The most recent edition of this contest was sponsored by the Manatee River Soil and Water Conservation District at Rye Preserve in East Manatee.
Gail Somodi, soil conservation supervisor, affiliated with Manatee County, the state of Florida and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, shares a little about the judging:
|4-H senior individual-1st place-Sam West. (provided photo)|
Students answered questions concerning soil properties at four fields in categories such as slope, depth, texture, permeability, erosion and nutrients.
One of the fields represented a potential home site location, and students were asked how well the land could serve as a building site.
Hunter Horne, a student at Southeast High School with the highest individual overall score, won the I.H. Stewart Award, sponsored by ECo Consultants and presented by Alec Hoffner.
The team composed of Brie-Ann Jaworowski, Hunter Horne, Wyatt Fulghum, and Luis Solorzano from Southeast High School won the Callon Keen Sr. Award for the team with the highest score, sponsored by the Keen Family and presented by Callon (Buddy) Keen, Jr. The team, advised by Mike Buckley, also placed first in the FFA high school division.
Placing second was the FFA high school team from Southeast High School, advised by Mike Buckley, with students Zach Butler, Alyssa Doss, Savannah Dunsmore, and Sam Seeger.
The FFA team from Palmetto High School placed third, advised by Mike Ingram with students Deven Penaloza, Kaitlyn Richman, Rebecca Keefer, and Colin Kirker.
Placing first at the middle school level for FFA was the team of Jonathan Tyler, Elizabeth Atkinson, Dylan Alvarez, and Sebastian Siegler from Lincoln Middle School, advised by Kimberley Lough.
The second place team advised by Greg Egan of Buffalo Creek Middle School, included students Justin Crocker, Cody Sahene, Chris Riggs, and Amber Koholoff.
In third place, advised by Stefani Heidenthal, was the team of Meagan Gigliotti, Emily Chamness, Marshall Craig, and Logan Troyer from Nolan Middle School.
The intermediate 4-H team, including Claire Strickland, Ben Hoffner, and Jesse West, placed first in the 4-H Intermediate division.
The senior 4-H students competed as individuals, with Sam West placing first and Josh Groover second. All 4-H students were advised by Alec Hoffner of ECo Consultants.
Medals were given to the high scoring individual at each of four fields.
This year, Wyatt Fulghum from Southeast High School had the highest score at three of the four fields in the Senior Division. Hunter Horne of Southeast High School had the highest score at the first field in the Senior Division.
Junior Division winners were Fields 2 and 4: Jonathan Tyler/Lincoln Middle School; Fields 1: Jesse West/intermediate 4-H; and Field 3: Meagan Gigliotti/Nolan Middle School.
FFA teams from Lakewood Ranch and Braden River High Schools also participated. Charlotte and Clewiston FFA students participated as guests in the competition.
USDA-NRCS Area Resource Soil Scientist Juan Vega served as Chief Judge and was assisted by USDA Soil Scientists from Fort Myers and West Palm Beach. Lunch was provided and prepared by Mitchell John of WinField and Jason McKendree with the Manatee County Cattlemen’s Association. Manatee River Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor Buddy Keen was instrumental in coordinating the lunch, and Supervisor Paul Howard provided assistance with the contest.
The winning FFA teams from Southeast High School, Lincoln Middle School, the Junior 4-H team and both senior 4-H individuals are eligible to compete in the state land judging competition to be held in late March this year in Levy County.
For more information see http://landjudging.org/
Left to right, Intermediate 4-H first place team-Claire Strickland, Ben Hoffner, and Jesse West. (provided photo)
|FFA middle school first place team from Lincoln Middle School- Dylan Alvarez, Elizabeth Atkinson, Jonathan Tyler, and Sebastian Siegler. (provided photo)|
Hunter Horne from Southeast High School-winner of the I.H. Stewart Award for high individual score, the Callon Keen Sr. Award for high team award and one high field award.(provided photo)
|Ribbons indicate the portion of the field to be judged by the students. (provided photo)|