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Missouri, West Virginia youth are best in their field

Melodie Marshall Published on 28 June 2010
Youth grassland evalution contest

The 11th Annual Mid-America Grassland Evaluation Contest was held in Springfield, Missouri, June 8-9, 2010.

From the beginning, the contest has been a joint effort between the Missouri Department of Conservation, University Outreach and Extension and the Natural Resources Conservation Service along with local Soil and Water Conservation Districts.

Each year a person who has made a considerable contribution of time and effort to promoting the contest is recognized as the Mid-America Contest Honoree.

This year’s award recipient was Mark Kennedy. Mark is the State Grazinglands Specialist in Missouri for the Natural Resources Conservation Service. He has served in this position since 1995 and has been employed by NRCS/SCS for 32 years.

receiving award

Mark was instrumental in getting the Mid-America Grassland Contest started, through his contacts in other states and his involvement with the American Forage and Grassland Council.

Mark serves as emcee every year for the Mid-America banquet, site selection for the practice and contest sites, contest and practice set up, writing scenarios, conducting the Grassland Condition section and helps develop the presentation shown at the awards banquet.

Mark has worked with this committee since 1999 to develop this contest, and we appreciate everything that Mark has done to enhance, promote and improve the contest.

There were 23 teams, consisting of 4-H and FFA, representing Arkansas, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.  This was the first year for Indiana to compete.  The teams were competing for High Scoring Team and Individual Awards. 

The high school contestants rotated through the four areas of judging; soil interpretation, plant identification, wildlife habitat and grassland condition.  The contestants were given 25 minutes at each of the sites to answer various questions.  The weather was cloudy with light rain the first twenty minutes of the contest but cleared off and it was a perfect day.  

Awards were presented to the top five 4-H teams, the top five FFA teams and the overall high scoring team.  Individual awards were presented to the top five high scoring individuals in both FFA and 4-H as well as the overall high scoring individual.  

The contest was very competitive this year with 7 teams scoring over 1000 points out of 1200 possible points.  The individual scores were also close with 37 students scoring 300 points or more out of 400 possible.  

The award winners were:

Grassland winners

4-H Team Awards
Fifth – Cleburne County 4-H, Heber Springs, Arkansas, scoring 924 points
Team Members: Chance Schueren, Anna Mercer and Tasha Hopkins

Fourth – Aurora 4-H, Aurora, Missouri, scoring 928 points
Team Members:  Kyle Haley, Lauren Garoutte, Sami Johnson and Jade Smith

Third – Yell County 4-H, Danville, Arkansas, scoring 939 points
Team Members: Matthew Bean, Joseph Bean and Jacob Irwin

Second – Boone County 4-H, Columbia, Missouri, scoring 1044 points
Team Members: Jimmy Bennett, Zac Kerley, Kelly Wilsdorf and Katryna Rankin

First – Stockton 4-H, Stockton, Missouri, scoring 1054 points
Team Members: Cameron Locke, Austin Culbertson, Mollie Sharp and Dalton Freeze

Grassland FFA winners

FFA Team Awards
Fifth – Stockton FFA, Stockton, Missouri, scoring 1023 points
Team Members: Gunnar Hochstedler, Megan Dodson, Brendan Bird and Keith Halley

Fourth – Ravenswood FFA, Ravenswood, West Virginia, scoring 1024 points
Team Members: Kelsey Flinn, Tiffany Harvey, Jacob Hafer and Joe Hartley

Third – Aurora FFA, Aurora, Missouri, scoring 1042 points
Team Members: Trevor Keckler, Rachael Cavener, Brian Jenkins and Desiree Koehler

Second – Columbia FFA, Columbia, Missouri, scoring 1046 points
Team Members:  Andrew Perry, Kris Rankin, Noble Carpenter and Jessica Schlager

First –  Clay County FFA, Clay, West Virginia, scoring 1060 points
Team Members: Megan Prater, Megan Moore, Michael Taylor and Logan Ramsey

4-H High Scoring Individuals:
Fifth – Chance Schueren, Cleburne County 4-H, Heber Springs, Arkansas, scoring 337 points

Fourth – Austin Culbertson, Stockton 4-H, Stockton, Missouri, scoring 344 points

Third – Zac Kerley, Boone County 4-H, Columbia, Missouri, scoring 345 points                                              

Second – Jimmy Bennett, Boone County 4-H, Columbia, MO scoring 364 points

First – Cameron Locke, Stockton 4-H, Stockton, Missouri, scoring 376 points

FFA High Individual Award Winners:
Fifth - Kelsey Flinn – Ravenswood FFA, Ravenswood, West Virginia, scoring 359 points

Third & Fourth individuals had a tie score and according to the rules – First option is to refer to the plant ID score where both scored 84, still tied, second option is to refer to the grassland condition score and this broke the tie–

Fourth – Megan Moore – Clay County FFA, Clay, West Virginia, scoring 361 points      

Third – Shawyna Wethington – Mt Vernon FFA, Mt Vernon, Missouri, scoring 361 points

Second - Megan Prater – Clay County FFA, Clay, West Virginia, scoring 362 points

First – Trevor Keckler, Aurora FFA, Aurora, Missouri, with 364 points

Overall High Scoring Individual
Cameron Locke, Stockton 4-H, Stockton, Missouri, with 376 points out of 400 possible.

Overall High Scoring Team
Clay County FFA, Clay, West Virginia, scoring 1060 points out of 1200 possible.  

HISTORY OF MID-AMERICA GRASSLAND EVALUATION CONTEST
This contest began in Missouri in 1992 with two contests held. Since that time, the contests have grown to include six District Contests, using the Vocational Agriculture Districts as boundaries. In 1995, the first State Grassland Evaluation Contest was held and the top two high scoring teams from each District Contest were invited.

The contest continued to grow and in 2000 the first Mid-America Grassland Evaluation Contest was held.  The 2000 – 2002 contests were held in Southeast Missouri in the Cape Girardeau area and moved to Springfield in 2003.

This contest would not be possible without the many sponsors which include: Missouri Forage and Grassland Council/Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative; Farm Bureau; MFA, Inc.; Soil and Water Conservation Districts; and the Department of Natural Resources, Soil and Water Conservation Program, and Top of the Ozarks RC&D.  FG

PHOTOS
PHOTO 1: Students compete in four areas of judging: soil interpretation, plant identification, wildlife habitat and grassland condition.

PHOTO 2: Committee member Mark Kennedy was recognized as the Mid-America Contest Honoree.

PHOTO 3: Stockton 4-H in Stockton, Missouri, won first place 4-H team. Pictured left to right are Cameron Locke, Mollie Sharp, Austin Culbertson and Jim Phillips (coach).

PHOTO 4: First place and overall FFA team went to Clay County FFA of Clay, West Virginia. Pictured here are left to right: Michael Taylor, Megan Prater, Logan Ramsey, Megan Moore and Michael Shamblin (coach).

Information and photos provided by Melodie Marshall, USDA-NRCS in Rolla, Missouri

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