Range judging marks year’s kickoff competition for FFA

State competition next week in Chase County

    Fourteen Imperial FFA members have been out in the pastures several days since school started, where they’ve been studying plants for the organization’s first major competition of the year.
    On Tuesday this week, 13 of them took part in the Area 3 Range Judging competition in Elwood, and they will be home in Chase County next week for the state contest.
    The state contest Wednesday, Sept. 26, is at a site they won’t know about until that day, said FFA Advisor Jeremy Vlasin, who coaches the range judging team.    
    And, he’s not been given any hints on where it might be located.
    However, having the state contest close to home provides some advantages, Vlasin said.
    “We’ll be asked to ID plants that we’ve been practicing on,” he said.
    He noted the same plant can look vastly different due to the varying precipitation levels received in eastern Nebraska versus west, which can affect how the plant looks and its size.
    “It’s a big advantage for us as long as the kids have been learning at our practices,” he said.
    And, they won’t have to travel far either.
    All of the expected 500 plus students from across Nebraska  here for the state contest will be given a practice site the day before.
    Vlasin said the contest involves four parts—identification of 24 range plants, ecological range sites to be judged on degree of use and condition, a rating of ranch maps and practices on them, as well as a written test on general range management knowledge.
    Competition, both at the area and state competitions, is split into junior (grades 9-10) and senior (grades 11-12) divisions.
    The state contest is sponsored by the Nebraska Section of the Society for Range Management.

 

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