Idaho State Land & Soil Evaluation Event CDE

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Land Judging.  That’s what the Land & Soil Evaluation Career Development Event used to be called.  Basically, it is making judgments about the soil.  This land and home site evaluation is an event designed to "evaluate" a soil or set of soils.  The purpose of land and home site evaluation is to teach participants to recognize soil factors and to assess soil characteristics.  This will help the participants to make wise decisions in managing and using soil and land resources.  Land evaluation can help participants understand:

1. Basic soil properties.

2. How physical and chemical soil properties affect crop growth.

3. Why various soils respond differently to management practices.

4. The influence of topographic features on soil productivity and conservation.

5. Soil and water conservation practices.

6. How soil properties may be used as a basis for selecting a home site.


The purpose of the Land & Soil Evaluation CDE is to:

¨ Enable each participant to learn how to recognize the physical features of the soil.

¨ Determine land capability for crop production

¨ Evaluate management practices needed for proper stewardship

¨ Investigate the soils in the region, the environment that surrounds them and their

   effect on their daily lives.


The West Cassia, East Cassia, and Minidoka Soil & Water Conservation Districts are proud

to host the state event in the Mini Cassia area each October and they encourage and

support agricultural education.

What  Is  Land Judging?

Regional winning FFA & 4-H teams from around the state of Idaho advanced to the Idaho State Land & Soil Evaluation Career Development Event in October.  

The program was initiated at Burley when Soil Conservation Service soil scientist, Glen Logan, worked with a group of Future Farmers of America at a state event.  He accompanied the team to the National Land & Soil Evaluation Event in Oklahoma City the following Spring in 1971.  Since that time the program has grown to include over 500 FFA and 4-H youths competing in regional events throughout the state of Idaho.  Winning teams at regional events attend the Idaho State event held in Burley, Idaho each year. 

Past Year's Idaho State Soils Events

Land & Soil Evaluation 2021
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2021 1st Place Team - Troy FFA

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2021 2nd Place Team - American Falls FFA

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Land & Soil Evaluation 2020   50 Years of Land Judging in Idaho!

50th Annual Land Judging Contest in Idaho

It was a windy day in Cassia County when FFA students from all around the state of Idaho gathered together to compete in the Idaho State FFA & 4-H Land & Soil Evaluation Event.  With the Covid 19 concerns, students and teachers wore face masks as they participated in the 50th Annual Soil Judging Contest which was held at Skaggs 6S Ranch. 


NRCS workers and Soil District employees, along with Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisors, provided equipment and labor to prepare the testing site.  Over 30 workers and volunteers assisted with the event, including Soil Scientist specialists and County Commissioners from both Cassia and Minidoka Counties. 


15 FFA Teams attended the 2020 Idaho State competition. Preston FFA placed first and Rigby FFA placed second. Both teams received scholarship money to assist with their travel to attend and compete at the national Land & Soil Evaluation Contest next spring.  

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49th Annual Idaho State FFA & 4-H Land & Soil Evaluation Event 2019


48th Annual Idaho State FFA & 4-H Land and Soil Evaluation

Career Development Event 2018

Photo far left:  Soil & Water Conservation District Supervisors (left to right) Richard Kunau-West Cassia SWCD, Luke Adams-Minidoka SWCD, and Mark Webb-East Cassia SWCD.

Yes, it was a very muddy day!  Soil specialist and volunteers showed off their muddy boots during the soils judging test.

2018 Idaho State Land & Soil Evaluation

 By Doreen McMurray

Information & Educational Specialist for East Cassia & West Cassia SWCD


                Students tested the soil in Minidoka County during the 48th Annual Idaho State FFA and 4-H Land & Soil Evaluation Career Development Event which was held on October 10, 2018.  This contest is hosted each year by West Cassia & East Cassia Soil and Water Conservation Districts.  High school age students trudged through mud following heavy rains enjoy as they worked to verify soil textures and slope at each of  the 5 testing sites. 

Students are not afraid to get their hands dirty (or muddy) as they test soil texture.  These FFA and 4-H students have learned to “evaluate the soil” and gain practical knowledge of the soil resource.  They learn to look deeper than the plow layer to make determinations about the soil and learn to recognize soil factors and soil characteristics.  This teaches students to make wise decisions in managing and using the he land.  It also teaches management, understanding, and an appreciation of the soil which will bring about informed decisions that can affect the future for all of us.  

Regional Field Contest Days held throughout the state of Idaho involve approximately 450 youth and 50 advisors each year.  FFA and 4-H teams winning at these regional contests advance to the State Contest held in Burley each year.  Approximately 78 youth competed at the Idaho State event this year seeking honors to attend the National Event held in Oklahoma City each spring.  Congratulations to the 2018 top teams Preston FFA and Troy FFA. 

It takes the work of many people to make the regional and state events possible.  Appreciation for the success of these events goes to the Land owners, Soil and Water Conservation Districts, and to the many financial sponsors and volunteers. 

Preston FFA - Idaho State 1st Place Winners 2018

Troy FFA - Idaho State 2nd Place Winners 2018

Land and Soil Evaluation Event 2017

The top 2017 Land & Soil Evaluation Event teams were Kuna FFA, Rigby FFA, and Preston FFA. 


Thanks to the many businesses and individuals who support this contest.

Land and Soil Evaluation Event 2016

Land and Soil Evaluation Event 2015

Older Photos





Above:  Maynard Fosberg - Soil Scientist from University of Idaho teaching students about soil during practice pit session.


Above:  Maynard Fosberg - Soil Scientist from University of Idaho.

L to R  Cassia County Commissioner Dennis Crane, East Cassia SWCD Supervisor Mark Webb, Cassia Co. Commissioner Clay Handy, Cassia Co. Commissioner Paul Christensen.