Buffalo County hosted 146 students representing eight schools and 5 counties at the 2017 annual Land Judging Contest on Wednesday, October 11th at Kent Hurlburt’s Liberty Farms. Approximately 36 teams of students from Arcadia, Boyceville, Colfax, Durand, Elk Mound, Menomonie, Mondovi, and Spring Valley High Schools participated in the event by examining four soil pits to determine the texture, structure, depth, slope and drainage of the soil. They were also tasked with determining soil fertility and nutrient management requirements, Using that information, they then identified soil erosion and land use limitations and capabilities of soil and recommended the farm management and conservation practices.
The Elk Mound team of Alex Johnson, Susan Marquardt, Chai Vang, and William Gilbertson, with individual scores ranging from 280-297, came away with first place and a team score of 1,150 points. Tom Millar, Agriscience Instructor, led the team which had four of the top seven high-scoring individuals of the event.
With a team score of 1,102 points, the Boyceville High School team of Kyle Holden, Nathan Corr, Bryce Boda and Noah Novotney took second-place team honors under the direction of Glenn Knudtson, agriscience instructor. Kyle Holden had the top score of 290 points for the Boyceville team and was third overall. The other members of the team finished with score of 275, 269 and 267 points resepctively.
Top scorers for the Menomonie team were Jarin Boettcher (310), Dylan Shackleton (266), Nolan Lee (259) and Grant Peterson (255). Led by Agriscience Instructor Jean D’Angelo, their team score was 1,090 giving them third place in the competition. Jarin held the top individual score at the competition.
Receiving fourth place with a team score of 1,024 was the Colfax team under the direction of Agriscience Instructor John Nelson. Ben Thompson had the top individual score of 295, with Nick Jenson, Jacob Jensen, and Phil Taylor contributing with scores ranging from 236 to 250.
The Spring Valley team, under the direction of Agriscience Instructor, Carter Turner, placed fifth with a team score of 1,015. Leading scorers were Kaylee Bazille (275), Cross Hurlburt (264), Katie Keehr (262), and Craigen Anderson (244).
Earning honorable mention were the Mondovi team with 896 team points, Arcadia with 881 points, and the Durand team with 812 points.
USDA-NRCS Soil Scientists Michael England and Tim Miland, along with Todd Mau, retired Buffalo County District Conservationist, were official judges for the event. Staff from Dunn, Buffalo, and Pepin County Land and Water Conservation and NRCS, as well as Agricultural staff from UW-Extension, assisted with the event.