For the second consecutive year, a team from Ravenswood in Jackson County and a team from Clay County finished first and second in the West Virginia Grassland Evaluation Contest at WVU Jackson’s Mill.
High school junior Katlyne Rollyson, also of Ravenswood, had the highest overall individual score.
For their success during the 2018 contest, members of Ravenswood Team 1, who finished first, and the Clay Future Farmers of America Gold team all received scholarships. The scholarships are worth $500 per team member for Ravenswood and $250 per team member for Clay FFA Gold.
Rollyson, a member of Ravenswood Team 2, also earned a $500 scholarship for her top individual performance.
This competitive contest is open to high school level FFA or 4-H members in West Virginia. Teams typically consist of four but sometimes fewer students. The contest is held each year during the West Virginia Beef Expo at Jackson’s Mill in Lewis County.
The Ravenswood and Clay County teams are eligible to participate in the Mid-America grassland competition scheduled for Springfield, Mo., in June.
The Grassland Evaluation Contest consists of four segments where the participants must evaluate the pasture condition as it is. These sections include grassland condition, soil interpretation, wildlife habitat, and plant identification. Each contestant is also given a scenario that provides a quantity and type of livestock a landowner has and must determine if the forage matches the livestock. If the two do not match the contestant is required to give recommendations to the landowner to make his operation productive.
The Grassland Evaluation Contest was developed by the West Virginia Grassland Steering Committee which is made up of farmers, educators, scientists, conservationists, and government agencies across the state. The committee is an advocate and proponent for improvement and continued wise use of grassland to improve water quality and maintain healthy and productive land and maximize profits. The goal is to improve the participants’ knowledge of grassland management.
Ten teams participated in this year’s contest. The top five performers were: Ravenswood Team 1 (952 total points), Clay FFA Gold (943), Cabell Midland FFA Team 1 (931), Fayette County 4-H (827) and Ripley FFA (763).
Members of Ravenswood Team 1 are: Whitney Pifer, Brooke Whited, Kaitlin Murray and Ben Smith. The members of Clay FFA Gold are: Clarissa Keiffer, Samantha Hicks, Darren Ray and Isaac “Ozzy” Childers. The third place team, Cabell Midland FFA Team 1, includes members CJ Simpson, Cheyenne Jackson, Marlee Norris and Faith Irwin.
The top individual performers were: Katlyne Rollyson (361 points), Whitney Pifer (341), Brooke Whited (333), Clarissa Keiffer (324) and CJ Simpson (318).
If you would like more information on how to participate in the competition, visit www.wvca.us/education/grassland_contest.cfm or contact your local conservation district.