West Virginia 4-H land judging teams received top honors again at the National Land and Range Judging Competition held recently in Oklahoma City, Okla.

Despite only having three members compete this year, the Barbour County team was awarded the highest honor: national champion for 4-H homesite evaluation. Barbour County also earned third place in the land judging competition. Coached by West Virginia University Extension Agent Roger Nestor, the Barbour County team members were Aaron Harris of Volga and Alicia Bosely and Louise Evans, both of Belington.

The Roane County 4-H team also earned high awards, receiving reserve champion titles in both the 4-H homesite and land judging competitions. Members of the Roane County team were Micah Seen and Isaac Seen, both of Spencer, and Georgia Bing and Alisha Abbott, both of Gandeeville. Michael Shamblin, WVU Extension agent, coached the team.

During the land judging competition, each team was required to evaluate the soil and determine its land class. The team then gave appropriate land treatment recommendations. Judges rated the team on each of the sections, which determined the members’land judging score.

Once land judging was completed, each team developed a homesite plan by using team members’evaluation of the soil’s capabilities to support a home.

In addition to the team honors, individual awards were given for the top scorers in each competition. West Virginia was on top yet again. Bosely scored a perfect 382 points in the homesite evaluation, earning her the honor of national champion.

All top five places in the homesite evaluation were awarded to West Virginia 4-H’ers. Micah Seen, Harris, Evans and Bing earned reserve champion and third-, fourth- and fifth-place titles, respectively.

Top 10 recognition in land judging was awarded to Bosely, Micah Seen and Bing, who placed third, fourth and eighth, respectively.

Competing for the national awards is a once-in-a-lifetime venture. Members of 4-H can participate in the national contest only one time in their life. Since 1959, West Virginia 4-H teams have earned 13 national championships via the skills of 47 different 4-H members.

Nestor, Barbour County’s WVU Extension agent, and the county’s 4-H program have been praised for their continuing national success, which includes four first-place land judging championships, two reserve land judging championships and four first-place homesite judging championships.

However, land judging is only one of many 4-H opportunities. The WVU Extension Service operates the 4-H Youth Development Program through local offices in each county in the state. By providing clubs, special interest groups, camps, after-school programs and individual projects, 4-H reaches more than 56,000 young people statewide. The youths are supported by more than 7,800 adult volunteers serving as mentors.

The National Land and Range Judging Contest is sponsored by the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts in cooperation with the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce and conservation districts, state conservation associations and agriculture groups across the nation.

Information about the WVU 4 -H Youth Development Program and county WVU Extension Service offices is available on the Web (www.ext.wvu.edu).