POLK COUNTY - 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.
Webster Team #1 photo is of the 1st Place Winner for teams (Team from Webster): L to R – Morgan Johnson, Kendra Jackson, Amanda Klug, and Ian McFaggen.
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
Individual Competition Winners 1st through 8th place: L to R – Morgan Johnson, Bradon Nutter, Mahalia Castleberg, Amanda Klug, Maelie Baker, Bailey Hinkfuss Alivia Marker, Cora Sprenger.
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.