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Resource Conservation Speech Contest | South Dakota Department of Agriculture

2016 Resource Conservation Speech Contest Winners

PIERRE, S.D.- The 55th annual State Finals of the Resource Conservation Speech Contest were held at the State Capitol in Pierre on Saturday, April 23, 2016. The theme of this year’s contest was “Why Manage Water for Conservation.”

Winning first place and a $1,100 scholarship was Esther Swift. She was sponsored by the Gregory County Conservation District and is a home-schooled senior. She is the daughter of David and Fawn Swift of Burke.

Receiving second place and a $750 scholarship was McKayla Carda. She was sponsored by the South Brown Conservation District and is a sophomore at Aberdeen Central High School. She is the daughter of John and Brenda Carda of Aberdeen.

Receiving third place and a $450 scholarship was Reina Grimsley. She was sponsored by the Davison County Conservation District and is a junior at Mitchell High School. She is the daughter of Ron and Misty Grimsley of Mitchell.

Scholarships totaling $2,300 for the winners are provided by Touchstone Energy Cooperatives of South Dakota. The contest is co-sponsored by the South Dakota Department of Agriculture (SDDA), the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the South Dakota Association of Conservation Districts.

State contestants first participated in a local contest sponsored by their conservation district. Two students from each district were then eligible to participate in an area contest. From there, the top two winners from each of the designated areas were eligible to advance to the state finals. This year, nine contestants competed in the state finals.

Next year’s theme is “Soil Health: What Will You Leave?” For more information, contact your local conservation district office or SDDA at 605.773.3623.

  • Click here to see photos of the contestants and winners.
  • Click here for the text of the 1st place speech.
  • Click here for the text of the 2nd place speech.
  • Click here for the text of the 3rd place speech.

To view the videos of the speeches for each participant click on the links below: