West Jefferson takes 5th in national rangeland competition

The West Jefferson FFA chapter national rangeland competitors are, from left to right, McKenna Neville, Saige Moss, Michelle Saldana, Jaycee Lounsbury and FFA adviser Don Bird.

A team of four students from the West Jefferson FFA Chapter took fifth place in the Western National Rangeland CDE event.

Michelle Saldana, Saige Moss, Jaycee Lounsbury and McKenna Neville attended the competition, held Nov. 11 and 12 in Elko, Nev. Saldana also placed as the 12th high individual.

West Jefferson FFA adviser Don Bird said students need to put in a lot of work to do well in the competition, including learning the names of 75 rangeland plants.

“The competition’s getting tougher, so we felt pretty fortunate to place in the top five,” Bird said.

West Jefferson was among five Idaho FFA chapters to compete in the national competition, and among around 15 chapters nationally. The West Jefferson Chapter qualified for the national competition by taking fourth place at the state level.

Western National Rangeland CDE is a judging event that allows students to learn about rangelands and career opportunities. Bird said the competition is a practical one.

“It’s great for young people to know the environmental issues that pertain to them and the future of ranching,” Bird said in an FFA news release. “I’m so proud of these girls as it’s hard to juggle time in a small school with other co-curricular activities.”