Symmes Valley FFA participates in grassland contest

Published 11:02 pm Saturday, September 19, 2009

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The Symmes Valley FFA Chapter has returned home after participating in the Tenth Annual Mid-America Grassland elevation Contest in Springfield, Mo. on June 9-10.

The team competed in one of the top grassland contests in the Midwest, at a site near Springfield.

From the beginning, the Grassland Evaluation Contest has been a joint effort between the Missouri Department of Conservation, University Outreach and Extension and the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

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The contests began in Missouri in 1992 with two contests held.

Since that time, the contests have grown to include six District Contests, using the Vocational Agriculture Districts as boundaries.

In 1995, the first state Grassland Evaluation Contest was held at and the top two high scoring teams from each District Contest were invited.

The contest continued to grow and in 2000 the first Mid-America Grassland Evaluation contest was held.

This contest would not be possible without the many sponsors which include: Missouri Forge and Grassland Council; Farm Bureau; MFA, Inc.; Soil and Water Conservation Districts; Missouri Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative Coalition; and the Missouri Association of Soil And Water Conservation Districts.

Members of the Symmes Valley FFA Chapter tested their individual and team skills against other teams from Arkansas, Ohio, West Virginia, and Missouri.

There were 24 Teams, consisting of 4-H and FFA, competing for High Scoring Team and Individual Awards.

The high school contestants rotated through the four areas of judging; soil interpretation, plant identification, wildlife habitat and grassland condition.

The contestants were given 25 minutes at each site to answer various questions.

Other opportunities that the students had were stopping in Metropolis, Ill. the home of Superman, Touring the Gateway to the West and going up in the Arch in St. Louis, Missouri.