South Dakota student wins national land judging competition

MITCHELL, S.D. (AP) — A high school student in eastern South Dakota has become a national champion after winning the National Land and Range Judging Contest.

McCook Central High School sophomore Katelyn Winberg was awarded first place in homesite evaluation at the national competition held in Oklahoma City earlier this month, the Daily Republic reported. Winberg is a member of FFA, a national group for students interested in agriculture and leadership.

Land judging gives students the opportunity to learn about land productivity and conservation management. Homesite evaluation involves soil properties and landscape position that can impact how suitable a site is for home construction.

Winberg competed against roughly 900 FFA and 4-H students. She’s also a member of 4-H, the largest youth development organization in the U.S.

After competing for a year in 4-H and FFA, Winberg qualified to compete nationally for agriscience in eighth grade, she said.

“Qualifying for Nationals was my first big achievement,” she said.

The 67th annual National Land and Range Judging Contest this year followed the South Dakota State FFA Convention in Brookings last month. Winberg won first place in nursery landscape.

Winberg said her FFA adviser and teacher, Terry Rieckman, had her practice soil, slopes and textures every day to prepare for the competition.

“Texture and slope are probably the two hardest things to determine, but if you can determine those two, you can be like Katelyn Winberg and get a perfect score,” Rieckman said.

Winberg said the experience taught her to push herself and work hard.

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Information from: The Daily Republic, http://www.mitchellrepublic.com

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