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The 2019 West Regional Land Judging Contest welcomed more than 60 high-school students from around the panhandle of Nebraska.

The contest was hosted by the North Platte Natural Resources District (NRD), Upper Niobrara White NRD, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and held south of Mitchell.

For the individual contest winners, Candace Wolfe from Bayard High School finished in first place, with a score of 288. Laura Albro and Hunter Geisler, both from Bayard High School, placed second and third respectively.

Bayard student Candace Wolfe, took first place at 2019 West Regional Land Judging Contest. Courtesy Phto
Bayard student Laura Alboro took second at the 2019 West Regional Land Judging Contest. Courtesy Photo
Bayard student Hunter Geisler took third at the 2019 West Regional Land Judging Contest. Courtesy Photo

Team contest winners were Bayard High School team of Taeton Harimon, Garret Hopkins, Kody Harimon, and Laura Albro had the top team honors with a score of 783. Bayard High School also took home second place with the team of Kolton Kriha, Leah Albro, Ryan Liakos, and Branden Johnson; while the Leyton team of Brenton Abbott, Blake Miller, Alyson Holt, and Megan Ernest placed third.
The top three teams, not from the same high school, automatically qualify for the state contest. The third qualifying team is from Scottsbluff High School (Marlee Neu, Allison Carpenter, Daniel Hiltgen, and Graham Kovarik). The state contest will be held
Oct. 23, 2019, in the Nemaha NRD.

Bayard students, from left, Kolton Kriha, Leah Albro, Ryan Liakos, and Branden Johnson took home second as a team. Courtesy Photo

“We had cool weather, great student participation, and our scores continue to improve. Overall, it was a successful day for the students in the panhandle as they demonstrated knowledge about soils through this contest,” said Amanda Shepperd, Forestry Technician & Community Educator of the North Platte NRD and the Nebraska Forest Service.

Land Judging is a high-school competition that challenges students to gain a better understanding of soil structure and land evaluation. Land judging enables each participant to learn how to recognize the physical features of the soil, determine land capability for crop production, and evaluate management practices needed for proper
stewardship. This year’s contest was a partnership between NRCS, the North Platte NRD, Upper Niobrara White NRD, and the University of Nebraska Extension.