ALLIANCE — On Sept. 15 the Upper Niobrara White Natural Resources District (UNWNRD) hosted the 2021 Area 1 Range Judging contest in Alliance. Range Judging is a high school competition that challenges students to gain a better understanding of Nebraska rangelands. Range Judging enables each participant to learn how to recognize range plants, range sites and the need for proper grazing practices. NRDs work with the Society for Range Management, NRCS and UNL Extension to host Range Judging contests all over the state each September. A total of 8 schools participated in the regional Range Judging Contest, including Creek Valley and Sidney High school from South Platte Natural Resources District. In first place for the Senior Division team was Sidney High School. The students on this team consisted of Zoe Fornander, Kord McMillen, Ty Grunig, and Emily Miller. Following in second place was the Banner County FFA, and third place the Scottsbluff FFA. The Junior Division team, in first place was Chadron FFA, in second place Sidney High School and in third place was Chadron FFA. The students on the Junior Division team from Sidney High School were Matthew Cabbage, Emilee Benzel, Gabe Neufeld and Kobe Peterson.
On October 6th the North Platte Natural Resources District hosted the 2021 West Regional Land Judging contest held in Lodgepole, NE. Volunteers from South Platte Natural Resources District (SPNRD), NRCS, UNL Extension, NPNRD, and UNWNRD helped to host the Land judging contest with 80 high school students from around the Panhandle participating. 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. Soil, land and home-site evaluation provide a setting for students to investigate the soils in their region. For the Team division, Bayard High school came in first place, in second place was Banner County High School and following in third place was Scottsbluff High school.