Land Judging & Soil Evaluation

img_3900Land 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, the environment that surrounds them and their effect on their daily lives.  There are 3 divisions as part of the contest – students, adults, and professionals.

During the competition, students judge four soil pits using an evaluation card to make assessments on: soil depth, surface texture, permeability, slope, thickness of surface and erosion. Each evaluation card is scored and added together to determine overall scores for individuals and the team. In order to compete in the state contest, teams advance from one of the seven regional competitions hosted across the state in October.

2019 State Land Judging Contest

Students and instructors from 30 Nebraska FFA chapters met in Tecumseh to compete in State Land Judging Oct. 23. The Nemaha Natural Resources District partnered with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to host the annual competition.  Individual Scores  |   Team Scores
2019 State Land Judging Individual Champions:
1. Levi Dorsey, Johnson County Central High School
2. John Wetovick, Fullerton High School
3. Madison Branek, Pawnee City High School
4. Nichole Vdraska, Tri-County High School
5. Logan Larson, Tri-County High School
2019 State Land Judging Team Champions:
1. Fullerton High School
2. Franklin High School
3. Pawnee City High School
4. Palmyra High School
5. Tri-County High School
These top five Nebraska teams will advance to the national competition hosted in Oklahoma City May 5-7, 2020.

REFERENCE MANUALS All materials are available at

Soil is one of the most important natural resources of our environment. Soil supports and influences the crops we grow for food and fiber, the water we drink, and the air we breathe. The soils of the world fit for plant growth must sustain all the plants, animals and humans that make the Earth their home. The soil acts as a filter for the water entering the groundwater supply, as well as interacting with or being eroded by the water that flows over the surface. Soil has a direct effect on the air we breathe when it becomes airborne and is evident when dust settles or obscures vision. Soil takes long periods of time to develop but can be destroyed or eroded away in very short periods. It is only through proper stewardship of soil that life on Earth can be sustained and improved.

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

The Central Platte NRD, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and UNL Extension host the South Central Land Judging contest as part of a rotation with other NRDs.

Map of Land Judging Regions

Land Judging Map Regions