Range Judging


Did you know that there are more acres of rangeland than any other category in Nebraska?  Rangeland totals 24 million acres with an additional 1.5 million acres of land previously farmed and seeded back to grasses.  Together, these grasslands occupy 52 percent of the state.  The contest rotates to different counties each year and tests participants on range plant identification, rangelands and plant community change, and range condition.

Range Judging Contests are high school competitions that provide students opportunities to have fun while becoming better educated on sustaining the yield of rangeland products by enhancement and protection of the range resources of soil, water, and plant and animal life.  The Range Judging season consists of six regional events followed by a state contest.

The 2018 Nebraska Area IV Range Judging Contest will be held near Cairo on Thursday, September 20, 2018.  The Central Platte Natural Resources District, USDA‐Natural Resources Conservation Service, and UNL Extension Service are sponsoring the contest.


There will be 4 divisions: JUNIOR DIVISION (Sophomore class standing & under), SENIOR DIVISION (Junior & Senior class standing), ADULT (non‐professional),  PROFESSIONAL

PREREGISTRATION IS REQUIRED. Email, fax, or mail registrations BY SEPT. 18th to lee@cpnrd.org.
Reminder: Your students will automatically be grouped into teams based on scores. Just register your students individually by either junior or senior on the following forms.  PLEASE have the forms TYPEWRITTEN to cut down on confusion. If you need to make a change prior to the contest date, EMAIL OR FAX them ASAP but please try to keep these changes to a minimum. Up to 400 participants are expected, so making changes the morning of the contest is discouraged.

Checkin will be from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. at the Cairo Community Center, 306 Berber Street, Cairo, NE 68824. There will be a $3.00 registration fee per contestant due at checkin time that will be used to help defray the cost of the contest. Checks should be made payable to the “Central Platte NRD.” Lunch will be on your own. It is suggested that all participants “brown bag” for lunch. The Central Platte NRD will provide a cold drink for everyone involved in the contest during the lunch break.

REFERENCE MANUALS: May be obtained through your local county extension service.
EC89-118     Nebraska Range and Pasture Forbs and Shrubs.
EC86‐113     A Guide for Planning and Analyzing a Year‐Round Forage Program.
EC91‐123     Drought Management on Range and Pastureland.
EC92‐124E   Nebraska Handbook of Range Management.

If you have any questions concerning this contest, feel free to contact Marcia Lee, Central Platte NRD at (308) 385-6282 or email lee@cpnrd.org.

Plant Identification:  The starting point for most range management decisions is knowing range plants by name and knowing their growth habits, livestock forage value, and other characteristics.  Students are tested on plant names, whether it is a grass, forb, grass-like, shrub or cactus; annual, biennial or perennial; introduced or native; cool or warm-season; high, medium or low forage value; and if grasses are bunch, stolon, or rhizomatuous.

Plant Community Change:  Rangeland is a specific kind of land on which the native vegetation is predominantly grasses, grass-like plants, forbs, or woody plants suitable for grazing or browsing by large herbivores.  When properly managed, rangelands can be used on a sustainable basis for livestock production while providing high quality air and water, wood products, wildlife habitat, recreation and native plants. Students are tested on the life form, life span, origin, season of growth, livestock forage value, and growth form in grasses.

Range Condition: The range condition assessment is based on the ecological concept of plant succession; it is an “ecological rating” of the plant community on a particular site range site.  The purpose of range condition determination is to compare the current status of the plant community in terms of the kinds and amounts of plants present.



REFERENCE MANUALS  Available at:  http://www.nesrm.org/RangeJudging.html 

If you have any questions, contact Marcia Lee, CPNRD at lee@cpnrd.org or (308) 385-6282.


Map of Range Judging Districts

Range Judging Map

For more information about range judging and range judging contests please contact your local NRD, NRCS, or UNL Extension office.   More information about Nebraska Range Judging can also be found at:  http://www.nesrm.org/RangeJudging.html