The James River FFA Chapter sent four members to Oklahoma City to compete in the recent National Land and Range Judging Contest. James River was one of three schools to represent Virginia, accompanied by the Strasburg and Central FFA chapters. Members of the team were Bailey Marshall, Andrew Newcomb, Jacob Fowler and Ellie Holter.

In this contest, students have to understand soil types, slope, and land classes. Based on a number of different factors that include runoff, erosion and soil permeability, students are able to complete their land card to judge the soil. These are methods that were not easily learned as the students spent months preparing for the contest.

Once in Oklahoma, students spent two days practicing and learning the change of landscape in Oklahoma. Members said they owe a large debt of gratitude to Andy Seibel for taking time from his schedule to guide practices for final preparation. Their knowledge was put to the test as they competed against 399 other students from across the country. These students comprised 102 FFA teams and James River placed 27th out of those teams. Additionally, Andrew Newcomb and Jacob Fowler were also in the top 60 individually.

Students were also able to experience Oklahoma through the Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial Museum, a meal at Cattleman’s steakhouse, taste a few of the 700 different soda flavors at Pop’s Restaurant, and travel the state from soil site to soil site.