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 was held near Cairo on Thursday, September 20, 2018.  Central Platte NRD, USDA‐Natural Resources Conservation Service, and UNL Ext. sponsored the contest. 288 contestants competed including 109 seniors, 169 juniors, and 10 adults.

AREA IV RESULTS  Seniors: 1st- Burwell, 2nd- St. Paul, 3rd- Loup City. Juniors: 1st- St. Paul, 2nd- Burwell, 3rd- Palmer. Adults: 1st- Burwell, Philip Simpson; 2nd- Palmer, Dennis Mottl; 3rd- Fullerton, Kevin Wetovick.  Area IV Results 

STATE RESULTS Seniors: 1st- West Holt; 2nd- Imperial; 3rd- Hayes Center. Juniors: 1st- Imperial; 2nd- West Holt; 3rd- St. Paul. Adults: 1st- Fullerton, Kevin Wetovick; 2nd- Ainsworth, Roger Lechtenberg; 3rd- Wheeler Central, Kelly Guggenmos.  State Results


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

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, lifespan, 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