South Dakota Grassland Coalition

By Emily Rohrer

The 39th Annual Rangeland Days and 18th Annual Soils Days were held in Watertown June 14 & 15 at the Codington Extension Building. The event was hosted by the Codington County Conservation District. The first day of the event was for learning all about plants and soil. Rangeland Days participants were students from ages 8-18. The students were divided up by age group into four different categories: New Rangers (8-10 years), Wranglers (11-13 years), Scouts (14-18 years), and Go-getters (14-18 years). Scouts and Go-getters were distinguished by whether or not they had previous judging experience. The students learned how to identify different types of plants as well as define characteristics of those plants including lifespan, origin, and seasonality. Older students spend time learning if plants are good for grouse food or cover and cattle food. The older students also evaluated small areas to determine the sites’ ability to provide habitat for beef cattle and prairie grouse.

The Soils Days participants took the day to learn about all about soils including how to determine soil texture, depth, suitability for different uses, slope, and more! The soils judgers evaluate a specific soils pit for erosion, depth, permeability, run-off, and limiting factors. They also take the information about the soils and determine how well that site would be for a homesite (called the Homesite evaluation). They determine whether or not that site/soil would be good for foundations, lawns and landscaping, septic tanks, and sewage lagoons.

After a day in the field, some participants gave presentations and talks about different range management topics. Some students also developed displays on various range topics. Students were judged based on the content and presentation styles. The following students took top honors for talks and displays.

1st Place New Ranger Talk – Haven Heber, Wessington Springs
1st Place New Ranger Display – Harley Heber, Wessington Springs 1st Place Wrangler Talk & Display– Katy Scott, Spearfish
1st Place Wrangler Plant Mounts – Wyatt Lambert, Spink Co 4-H 1st Place Go-Getter Display & Talk – Bobbi Eide, Gettysburg, SD

The second day of the event was contest day!

Go-getter teams were divided into two categories: FFA Division and 4-H Division. Soils teams were also divided between FFA and 4-H. Top 4-H teams qualify for the National Land and Range Judging Competition in Oklahoma City the following May. Top judgers for each category and division were:

1st Place New Ranger Judging – Haven Heber, Wessington Springs
1st Place Wrangler Judging – Jesse Schoon, Sunshine Bible Academy
1st Place Scout Judging – Darla Barnes, Perkins 4-H
1st Place Go-Getter FFA Individual Judging – Treyvon Czmowski, Webster FFA
1st Place Go-Getter FFA Team – Webster FFA, Jaidryn Rice, Norah Zubke, Treyvon Czmowski, Blaise McGregor

1st Place Go-Getter 4-H Individual Judging – Caleb Weyh, Day County 4-H
1st Place Go-Getter 4-H Judging Team: Haakon/Bennett Co 4-H – Tara Schofield, Colden Kramer, Ashley Shriver, Emily Zickrick, Sarah Huston (Coach Reed Johnson)

Soils Judging results were as follows:

1st Place 4-H Soils Individual – Karin Sweeter, Lennox 4-H
1st Place 4-H Soils Judging Team – Tyler Strasser, Skyler Plucker, Callie Hammerstrom, Karin Sweeter, Lennox 4-H
1st Place 4-H Soils Individual – Brynlee Kriens, Dell Rapids FFA
1st Place FFA Soils Judging Team – Brynlee Kriens, Haley Rydell, Orran O’Meara, Dell Rapids FFA.

Finally – participants that did all three competitions of the event (gave a talk, did a display, and competed in the judging competition) were in the running for the “Top Hand” award. The following were the top hand award winners for each age group:

New Ranger Top Hand – Vada Enfield, Sanborn 4-H Wrangler Top Hand – Katy Scott, Spearfish, SD Go-getter Top Hand – Caleb Weyh, Webster, SD

A special thanks goes out to the hosts: the Codington County Conservation District, those that helped setup and tear down, as well as the event organizers!

The 40th Annual Rangeland Days and 19th Annual Soils Days is tentatively scheduled for the week of June 10th – so save the date for next year!

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