The Barnesville FFA chapter has returned home after participating in the Thirteenth Annual Mid-America Grassland Evaluation Contest in Springfield, Mo. June 5-6. The team competed in one of the top grassland contests in the Midwest, at a site near Springfield.
Members of the Barnesville FFA chapter tested their individual and team skills against other teams from Arkansas, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia and Missouri. There were a total of 27 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 of the sites to answer various questions.
Barnesville FFA team members Sadie Reinacher, Cody Grant, Michael Thomas and Vanessa Taylor placed seventh in the nation.
From the beginning, the Grassland Evaluation Contest has been a joint effort between the Missouri Department of Conservation, University Extension and the Natural Resources Conservation Service. This contest 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 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 additional sponsors which include: Missouri Forage and Grassland Council/Missouri Grazing Lands Coalition Initiative; NRCS; MDC; Farm Bureau; MFA, Inc.; Soil and Water Conservation Districts; and the Department of Natural Resources, Soil and Water Conservation Program.