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Local students to head to the state land judging competition

Four FFA middle and high school teams from Manatee County, a junior 4H individual and senior 4H team competed in the annual land judging competition sponsored by the Manatee River Soil and Water Conservation District (MRSWCD) on Feb. 25.

At Rye Preserve, the students used land judging scorecards to answer questions concerning soil properties at four holes in such categories as slope, depth, texture, permeability, erosion and nutrients. One of the holes represented a potential homesite location, and students were questioned on how well the land could serve as a building site.

After the competition, soil scientist Juan Vega took the students to the four holes and discussed the correct answers. Lunch followed, provided and prepared by Bart Hoopingarner of UPI , Jerry Dukes of ORO-Agri and Doug Wilbanks of Syngenta. Awards were presented.

Wendy Hebenstreit, a student at Southeast High School, won the I.H. Stewart Award, sponsored by ECo Consultants and given to the student with the highest individual score.

One of two teams from Southeast High School won the Callon Keen, Sr. Award, which is sponsored by the Keen family and given to the team with the highest score. The team, coached by Mike Buckley, also placed first in the FFA division and included students Gena Gleckler, Wendy Hebenstreit, and Kendall McLucas.

Placing second was the team from Southeast High School, coached by Mike Buckley, with students Joe Rocha, Trent Sagramsingh, and Sarah Shealy.

The senior FFA team from Palmetto High School placed third, coached by Julie Tillett with students Brittany August, Luke Ingram, Megan Kowtkowski, and Amber Wolf.

Participating at the junior level for FFA was the team of Adam Stem, Elizabeth King, Jenna Parker and Kameron Geeslin from Nolan Middle School, coached by Stefani Heidenthal.

The senior 4H team (Russell Rhoades, Seth Gillett, Ethan Gillett, and Adam Gillett) and junior (Samuel Byers) 4H individual coached by Alec Hoffner and Craig Wolfe of ECo Consultants are eligible to go on to state.

The winning FFA team from Southeast High School is also eligible to compete in the state land judging competition to be held in late March this year in Alachua County. For more information see http://landjudging.ifas.ufl.edu.

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