Land and Soil Evaluation Program
The purpose of the Land and Soil Career Development Event is to teach participants to recognize soil factors and assess soil characteristics that affect agricultural production practices and suitability for selecting a home site.
Select a topic below for more event information.
The Idaho State Land and Soil Evaluation program is a cooperative effort of many individuals and organizations. It involves youths from both FFA and 4-H. The program was initiated at Burley in 1971 when Soil Conservation Service soil scientist—Glen Logan—worked with a group of Future Farmers of America at a state event. Since that time the program has grown to include over 500 FFA and 4-H youths competing in regional events throughout Idaho and the state event at Burley, Idaho. Five regional land judging field days and the state event are held during the month of October each year.
- Identify basic soil properties.
- Determine how physical and chemical soil properties affect crop growth.
- Identify reasons why various soils respond differently to management practices.
- Determine the influence of topographic features on soil productivity and conservation.
- Define and understand water conservation practices.
- Determine how soil properties may be used as a basis for selecting a home site.
Land and home site evaluation is a training method similar to livestock evaluation, using classes of "fields" instead of classes of animals. Fields are evaluated according to established criteria for their suitability and limitations for various uses. A field refers to a plot of land 100 feet square selected from a uniform portion of a farm or other area. Land and home site evaluation consists of four fields, three for land evaluation and one for home site evaluation. A soil profile is exposed to allow participants to examine soil depth, topsoil depth and soil structure. Containers with topsoil and subsoil are placed near the profile for determination of texture and permeability. Official scoring of the fields is by qualified scientists. The officials set climatic conditions, soil test information and other factors such as flooding and water table information that are not obvious. These conditions are given on a placard located at each site.
- A chapter team may consist of up to five individuals.
- Regional Field Days are held at five locations around the state during the first two weeks of October. The two top teams from each FFA or 4-H district at the Regional Field Days qualify for the state event.
- The cost per school (FFA Chapter or 4-H Club) participating in the Regional Field Days is $15. Checks are to be made payable to the Idaho FFA Association.
- A school (FFA Chapter or 4-H Club) may have unlimited participants in the Regional Field Days but an official team must be designated. Others will participate as alternates.
- The state event is held in Burley, Idaho on a Monday of the third week of October. The cost is $50 per team, which includes 5 members and an adult advisor or chaperone. Registration and the organizational meeting for the event begins at 8:30 a.m. at Burley High School.
The format, set-up and scoring for the event is explained in the instructional handbook:
Hard copies of the instructional handbook can be ordered from University of Idaho CALS Publications, 875 Perimeter Dr. MS 2332, Moscow, Idaho 83844-2332, phone (208) 885-7982, firstname.lastname@example.org. Cost is $4 each.
FFA and 4-H will be recognized at the same award ceremony and will be recognized separately. The top 10 teams and individuals in each organization will be recognized. Individuals and teams from first through fifth place will receive plaques with clarification as follows:
- The number of individual plaques awarded will correspond with the number of teams that compete up to a maximum of five individual plaques. For example, if two 4-H teams compete, two individual 4-H plaques will be awarded.
- 4-H team plaques will be awarded to the first place team and then up to fifth place, but will be one award less than the total number of teams participation. For example, if three 4-H teams compete, then only two winning team plaques will be awarded.
In 1985, the Maynard Fosberg Land Judging Endowment was established to help support the program financially and provide a scholarship to an incoming freshman in soil science that participated in the Land and Soil Evaluation Program. Partial support for the Land and Soil Evaluation Events comes from the endowment interest. Individuals and organizations make donations to the endowment.
The agencies and organizations involved in the Idaho Land and Soil Evaluation program include:
- University of Idaho: Department of Plant, Soil and Entomological Sciences (Soil and Land Resources Division)—Extension soil specialists and soil scientists coordinate the overall state program, schedule and organize regional events and the state event, provide technical support and conduct the regional and state events. They maintain the official handbook, Soil and the Environment: A Land and Homesite Evaluation Handbook and Training Guide (Bulletin 795).
- University of Idaho: Department of Agricultural and Extension Education—Faculty assists in the development and coordination of the regional and state events. Idaho agricultural science and technology instructors, the State FFA and district FFA organizations support the program.
- University of Idaho Extension: County Extension faculty work with FFA and 4-H leaders and members in preparing and participating in the regional and state events.
- U. S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service: USDA-NRCS soil scientists and soil conservationists work to organize, provide technical support and conduct the regional and state events.
- Idaho Association of Soil Conservation Districts: IASCD Auxiliary and individual Soil Conservation Districts each support the program through planning, conducting events and contributing financial resources supporting the events and/or to the Land Judging Endowment. The East and West Cassia Soil Conservation Districts have been major sponsors of the state event in Burley for many years.
- 2007 State Event at Burley
- 2007 Officials for State Event at Burley
- 2007 Regional Event at Pocatello
- 2007 Officials for Regional Event at Pocatello
- 2007 Regional Event at Nezperce
- 2007 Officials for Regional Event at Nezperce
- 2008 Regional Event at Grangeville
- 2008 Officials for Regional Event at Grangeville
- 2008 State Event at Burley
- 2008 Officials for State Event at Burley