State Land Judging Competition Challenges Youth in Tecumseh

State Land Judging Competition Challenges Youth in Tecumseh


LINCOLN, Nebraska – Students and instructors from 30 Nebraska FFA chapters met in Tecumseh to compete in State Land Judging Oct. 23. The Nemaha Natural Resources District (NRD) partnered with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to host the annual competition.

“We’re excited to bring students to our district to learn about the soils in southeast Nebraska since it is one of our most important natural resources,” said Bob Hilske, Nemaha NRD general manager. “Land Judging allows students to investigate the soils in their region and understand the importance of proper stewardship to sustain and improve our environment.”

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. 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. Each evaluation card is scored and added together to determine overall scores for individuals and the team. In order to compete in the state contest, teams advance from one of the seven regional competitions hosted across the state in October.

2019 State Land Judging Individual Champions:

  1. Levi Dorsey, Johnson County Central High School
  2. John Wetovick, Fullerton High School
  3. Madison Branek, Pawnee City High School
  4. Nichole Vdraska, Tri-County High School
  5. Logan Larson, Tri-County High School

2019 State Land Judging Team Champions:

  1. Fullerton High School
  2. Franklin High School
  3. Pawnee City High School
  4. Palmyra High School
  5. ​Tri-County High School

These top five Nebraska teams will advance to the national competition hosted in Oklahoma City May 5-7, 2020. To view photos of Nebraska State Land Judging visit the NARD Flickr page. For more information on Nebraska Land Judging, visit