S.D. Rangeland Days to be June 24-25 in Chamberlain

The Brule-Buffalo Conservation District is accepting pre-registration for participation in the 31st Annual South Dakota Rangeland Days and 10th Annual Soils Days to be held in Chamberlain, June 24 and 25, 2014

The Rangeland Days program is an annual event that moves to a different location within the state every two years. The Brule-Buffalo Conservation District will host Rangeland Days for 2014 and 2015.

“South Dakota Rangeland Days is an opportunity to learn more about one of the state’s most important resources, our, rangelands,” said Dave Ollila, SDSU Extension Sheep Field Specialist.

Ollila has been actively involved in Rangeland Days for several years, first as a high school Agriculture Education teacher and today as an SDSU Extension Field Specialist.

Learning activities have been designed for a variety of age groups and expertise; from 8 years of age through adulthood.

Beginners start with plant morphology and identification, working up to evaluating rangelands for suitability as livestock and wildlife habitat. Once the rangeland has been given a “rating” for habitat quality, recommendations for improvement will be discussed and made to meet the goals of the cooperating producer.

Divisions are determined by experience level and age as of Jan. 1, 2014 and they include: New Rangers, 8 to 10-years-old; Wranglers, 11 to 13-years-old; Scouts, 14 to 18-year-old with no prior formal rangeland management instruction; Go-Getters, 14 to 18-years-old, with previous rangeland management instruction; Ranch hand, Adults with no professional rangeland management experience.

The Scout Division is intended to serve incoming high school freshmen or high school age students who have never participated in South Dakota Youth Range Camp or a previous range judging event. Incoming freshmen, based on confidence in their abilities and experience may choose to participate in the Scout or Go-Getter division. This designation must be made at the time of registration.

After a day of active learning, participants will have the opportunity to measure how much they have learned by participating in a contest, suited to the age and expertise.

County 4-H teams and FFA Chapters of three or four members can participate in team competition with the top 4-H team earning the right to represent South Dakota at the National Range Judging competition in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma the first Thursday in May 2015.

The travel for this team is partially funded by a $1,000 sponsorship through the 4-H Livestock Industry Trust Fund.

Rangeland Day participants can also compete for awards in the Rangeland Educational display competitions and Rangeland related speech contests in all the youth division.

Participants who are 14 to 18 years of age, regardless if they are a Scout or a Go-Getter, will compete against each other in the displays and speech competition.

The South Dakota Section of the Society for Range Management provides a sponsorship to cover the travel and participation expenses for the top 14 to18 year-old winners.

The winner of the Rangeland Speech competition will be selected to represent South Dakota in the High School Youth Forum at the Annual Society for Range Management convention which will be held in Sacramento, Calif. February 2015.

A “Top Hand” is selected in each youth division. This award is based on the combined weighted scores in the three areas; judging (40 percent), displays (25 percent) and speeches (35 percent).

The Top Hand in each youth division will be awarded a Maynard Belt Buckle. The Top Hand in the Go-Getter Division will also receive a three-foot traveling trophy to be displayed in their home for a year. The top performer in the Ranch Hand division will receive $50 in Beef Bucks.

In conjunction with SD Rangeland Days, the Professional Association of Soil Scientists is holding its 10th annual South Dakota Soil Days competition for 4-H and FFA members 14 to 18 years of age.

The top placing 4-H team of three to four members will represent South Dakota at the National Land Judging Competition in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma the first Thursday in May 2015.

The 4-H Animal Industry Trust Fund contributes $1,000 toward travel expenses when attending the national event.

One Continuing Education undergraduate or graduate credit through the University of Sioux Falls will be offered for successful completion of the Soil Days adult program.

To request a pre-registration form, a syllabus for the continuing education credit or further information about South Dakota Rangeland Days and South Dakota Soils Day please contact Tina Dehaai at the Brule-Buffalo Conservation District, 605-734-5953, or Dave Ollila at (605) 394-1722,

Registration for the two-day Annual South Dakota Rangeland Days and 10th Annual Soils Days, will also take place the first day of the event, June 24 between 8 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. at Chamberlain High School (1000 Sorenson Drive, Chamberlain, SD 57325).

–SDSU Extension