Tri-County High School Students Compete in Land Judging Competition

On October 4th, 2023, Polk County proudly hosted the 49th Annual Tri-County Land Judging Contest at the Milltown Community Center. This esteemed event, which rotates between Burnett, Polk, and Washburn Counties, brought together 68 talented students from 8 schools, demonstrating their prowess in soil study and land evaluation.

Students competed both individually and as teams, with each school being allowed two teams, each consisting of four contestants. At various soil pit locations, participants meticulously examined the soil and its surrounding terrain, evaluating aspects such as texture, structure, drainage, production capabilities, and suitable land uses.

Following the thorough judging of the pits, the NRCS Soil Scientist, Tim Miland, conducted a review of the scoring, highlighting unique features found in each soil pit location. The students then returned to the Milltown Community Center, where they enjoyed a well-deserved lunch and an awards presentation. This year's contest was marked by intense competition, with the top 8 individual scores separated by a narrow margin. Congratulations are extended to all the students who participated for their outstanding performance.

Team winners, and recipients of trophies, were:

1st Place: Webster #1, 908 points: Morgan Johnson, Kendra Jackson, Amanda Klug, and Ian McFaggen.

2nd Place: Spooner #2, 863 points: Cora Sprenger, Jenna Stumph, Bailey Hickfuss, and Sean Zwisler.

3rd Place: Shell Lake #1, 834 points: Alivia Marker, Trace Johnson, Kasey Shrankel, and Mark Skluzacek.

Individual winners and recipients of a commemorative medal were:

1st Place:          Morgan Johnson           Webster #1                               305 points

2nd Place:        Bradon Nutter              Webster #2                               305 points

3rd Place:         Mahalia Castleberg       Spooner (Individual)                 305 points

4th Place:         Amanda Klug               Webster #1                               299 points

5th Place:         Maelie Baker                Spooner #1                               297 points

6th Place:         Bailey Hinkfuss             Spooner #2                               296 points

7th Place:         Alivia Marker               Shell Lake #1                           295 points

8th Place:         Cora Sprenger              Spooner #2                               292 points

The organizers wish to express their gratitude to Luke and Natalie Christensen of Milltown for their generous hospitality in providing their land for the soil pits. Additionally, special thanks go to the Polk County Agriculture Advocates organization for providing a delightful lunch for all attendees.

With this year's event being a resounding success, the agency staff are already eagerly anticipating the 2024 Tri-County Soil Judging Contest. Washburn County will host the event next year, promising another exciting competition and an opportunity to celebrate the rich agricultural heritage of the region.

Photo of Individual Soil Competition Winners, 1st through 8th place: Morgan Johnson, Bradon Nutter, Mahalia Castleberg, Amanda Klug, Maelie Baker, Bailey Hinkfuss Alivia Marker, Cora Sprenger

Individual Competition Winners

L to R – 1st through 8th place

Morgan Johnson, Bradon Nutter, Mahalia Castleberg, Amanda Klug, Maelie Baker, Bailey Hinkfuss, Alivia Marker, Cora Sprenger