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NDSU Extension Service, Published May 16 2012

ND 4-H land judging team fifth in national competition

FARGO - The Walsh County land judging team placed fifth in the National Land Judging Invitational contest in Oklahoma City, Okla., on May 3.

Team members were Justin Zahradka, Andrew Brummond and Zachary Nelson. In individual competition, Zahradka placed sixth, Brummond 15th and Nelson 37th. Walsh County Extension agent Brad Brummond coached the team.

The Walsh County team earned a trip to the national contest by winning the state land judging contest in August 2011 in Casselton.

Land judging requires the judgers to make critical decisions on the soil and land by texturing topsoil and subsoil, calculating total soil depth, shooting slope, figuring past erosion and erosion hazards, and classifying the soil on productivity and uses. They then use this knowledge to make land management recommendations that will preserve the land and increase the profitability of the property. Those recommendations include fertilizer applications and soil conservation practices.

Land judging is a highly competitive contest, according to the team's coach. For example, Andrew Brummond placed 15th but was only 10 points from the top 10.

"You can't afford to miss much and remain competitive," Brad Brummond adds.

Land judging teams from throughout the nation, including one from Hawaii, participated in the national event.

"Our youth learned that soil is not necessarily black, with all the sites having red Oklahoma soil," their coach says. "Their biggest challenge was getting over the color and adapting to Oklahoma conservation practices."