Since 1952, Oklahoma has welcomed high school students from across the United States to the National Land and Range Judging Contest in Oklahoma City. This contest averages 700 participants each year. Contestants must first qualify quality in their home state to be eligible to compete in Oklahoma at the National Land and Range Judging Contest.
The contest consists of two separate events – range judging and land judging. Land judging looks at soil characteristics to determine its quality and capabilities. Examples of areas reviewed are erosion, slope, drainage and permeability. Reviewing these characteristics allows students to learn about how our soil can be used, how different soils should be managed and, most importantly, how to conserve one of our critical natural resources. Range judging teaches students how to properly identify plants, their growth habits and their value for livestock, as well as how to best manage and preserve range land to maximize use and minimize negative impact.
The National Land and Range Judging Contest is judged by soil scientist experts from Oklahoma State University (OSU) and the Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS). These volunteers dedicate their time to educating participants about soil and plant conservation and provide valuable feedback to the participants.