The event – a highly competitive contest that teaches integrated use and management of grassland resources – took place June 5-6 in Springfield, Missouri.

On the first day, a practice contest was set up where the students could go through the different stations – soil interpretation, plant identification, and wildlife habitat and grassland condition – and ask questions.

In the afternoon, a separate plant identification site was set up with about 40-50 plants to be identified.

The second day was contest day. After the location of the contest site was announced, the teams moved to the location and started rotating through the different stations.

Upon completion, each of the sections were reviewed but teams had to wait until the awards banquet to get the final placings.

The Grassland Evaluation Contest started in Missouri in 1990 as a joint effort between the Missouri Department of Conservation, University Extension and the Natural Resources Conservation Service.


Two contests were held in 1992. Since that time, the contests have grown to include six district contests, using the vocational agriculture districts as boundaries.

In 1995, the first state-wide Grassland Evaluation Contest was held and the top two high scoring teams from each district contest were invited.

Due to interest from other states, in 1999 Grassland Evaluation Contest training was held in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, for anyone interested. In 2000, the first Mid America Grassland Evaluation Contest was held, also in Cape Girardeau. The contest moved to Springfield beginning with the 2003 event.

Winners of the grassland contest

Awards for the 2012 contest were presented to the top five 4-H teams, the top five FFA teams and the overall high scoring team. Individual awards were presented to the top five high scoring individuals in both FFA and 4-H as well as the overall high scoring individual.

4-H Top Individual Award Winners

  • Fifth – Ethan Walrath – Farm & Home Boosters 4-H, Mt. Vernon, Missouri 308  points
  • Fourth – Aaron Wilson  – Cleburne County 4-H, Cleburne, Arkansas  324
  • Third – Jordyn Benson – Gallia County 4-H, Gallia, Ohio  340                                              
  • Second – Daniel Martz – Boone County 4-H, Columbia, Missouri   343
  • First – James Johnson – Boone County 4-H, Columbia, Missouri  344

FFA Top Individual Award Winners

  • Fifth – Tory Chasteen – Columbia FFA, Columbia, Missouri 361 points
  • Fourth – Kira Kirk – Columbia FFA, Columbia, Missouri 369   
  • Third – Tiffany Harvey – Ravenswood FFA #1, Ravenswood, West Virginia 373
  • Second – Julia Matera – Columbia FFA, Columbia, Missouri 378
  • First – Joe Hartley – Ravenswood FFA #1, Ravenswood, West Virginia   395

4-H Top Team Award Winners

  • Fifth – Farm & Home Boosters 4-H – Mt. Vernon, Missouri 801 points. Team members: Ethan Walrath, Sierrah Johnson and Anna Brashears

  • Fourth – Gallia County 4-H– Gallia County, Ohio  817 points. Team members: Jordyn Benson, Thomas Holley, Elizabeth Ours and Bryan Benson

  • Third – Randolph County 4-H – Randolph County, Arkansas  819 points. Team members: Jonathan Courtney, Jesse DeJournett, Jacob Kelly and Brittany Yancy

  • Second – Cleburne County 4-H – Cleburne County, Arkansas  845 points. Team members: Aaron Wilson, Rachel Wilson, Matthew Hipp and Daniel Hipp

  • First –  Boone County 4-H, Boone County, Missouri   926 points. Team members: James Johnson, Daniel Martz and Alex Shea

FFA Top Team Award Winners

  • Fifth – Mt Vernon FFA, Mt Vernon, Missouri    915 points. Team members: Sarah Atallah, Eleesa Gaeddert and Shelby Thompson

  • Fourth – Ravenswood FFA #2, Ravenswood, West Virginia  949 points. Team members: Christie Meeks, Ashley Walter and Robbie Flinn

  • Third – Aurora FFA, Aurora, MO  1053 points. Team Members: Kyle Haley, Maclain Rapp, Logan Parker and Trystan Thompson

  • Second – Columbia FFA, Columbia, MO  1108 points. Team Members: Julia Matera, Kira Kirk, Tory Chasteen and Sarah Darr

  • First – Ravenswood FFA #1, Ravenswood, West Virginia   1127 points. Team Members: Joe Hartley, Tiffany Harvey, Charissa Friend and Kirsten Marks

Overall High Scoring Individual Award:   
Joe Hartley of Ravenswood FFA #1, with 395 points out of 400 possible

Overall High Scoring Team Award:  
Ravenswood FFA #1 with 1127 points   

This contest would not be possible without sponsors, including Missouri Forage and Grassland Council/Missouri Grazing Lands Coalition Initiative; NRCS; MDC; Farm Bureau; MFA, Inc.; Soil and Water Conservation Districts; and the Department of Natural Resources, Soil and Water Conservation Program.  FG

—From Mid-America Grassland Evaluation Contest news release

TOP: Participants competing in the 2012 Mid America Grassland Evaluation Contest.

MIDDLE: High Scoring 4-H Team from Columbia FFA, Columbia, Missouri. L to R – Larry Henneke Advisor; James Johnson, Daniel Martz and Alex Shea. Photos courtesy of Mid-America Grassland Evaluation Contest.