October 19, 2017
FARMS Leadership students from North Salinas, Gonzales, Soledad, and Watsonville High Schools competed in a Land Judging Contest on September 28th. The Land Judging Contest is an annual competition where high school students compete in their ability to assess a soil’s capacity for supporting different land uses with emphasis on agricultural production. North Salinas High School student Kyla Monroe took first place by over 20 points. Luis Carrillo and Gregario Alfaro, both from Gonzales High School, tied for second and third place.
The contest began with USDA-NRCS Soil Scientist Ken Oster giving students a demonstration in soil pit evaluation and then sending the students to assess two other pits on their own for the contest. After the soil pit evaluation portion of the contest, students had an opportunity to ask the conservation professionals, including those from USDA-NRCS and RCDMC who helped with the event, any career-related questions they chose. The informational interview exercise proved valuable to both students and staff, both as a way to get to know each other better and as a way for the students to learn more about the realities and opportunities of working in the ag conservation sector.
As the first-place winner of the Land Judging Competition, Kyla receives a Range Camp scholarship prize. Range Camp is a five-day educational camp where high schoolers engage in hands-on learning with agricultural and environmental scientists and range management professionals at the Elkus Ranch near Half Moon Bay to expand their ag and conservation-related knowledge and broaden future opportunities.