Student video and essay contests now open

Sep 25, 2023

As part of the 2024 Soil Health Conference, the South Dakota Soil Health Coalition has announced two exciting contests for students in South Dakota. The student video and essay contests have been designed to give students the opportunity to learn more about soil health, showcase their knowledge in creative ways, and hopefully win some cash prizes!

Learn more about these contests below.

Essay Contest

The 2024 Student Essay Contest is open to South Dakota middle school, high school and post-secondary students. Cash prizes and hoodies will be awarded to winners in each of the age categories. The top prizes will be $400 in the post-secondary division, $300 in the high school division, and $200 in the middle school division.

To enter the contest, each student should submit an original essay, not to exceed 300 words in length, addressing one of the following topics:

  1. Healthy Soil, Healthy Food, and Healthy People
  2. Livestock and Soil Health

Participants are encouraged to be creative with their entries.

Essays must be submitted via email to Each essay must be accompanied with the following information:

  1. First and last name of the student essayist.
  2. Name of school or institution attended by the student.
  3. Grade of the student (for middle school and high school students).
  4. Student address.
  5. Student phone number.

Entries must be submitted no later than Jan. 7, 2024. Contest winners will be announced during the Soil Health Conference.

Video Contest

South Dakota Soil Health Coalition’s 2024 Student Soil Health Video Contest is open to all K-12 students in South Dakota. Prizes for the contest will be $750 for first place, $500 for second place, $250 for third place, and $100 for fourth place.

Students may form teams of no more than five members to submit entries. If the team members represent an FFA chapter, 4-H program, or other student agriculture organization, they are asked to submit contact information for that organization so that any prize money can be sent to the organization. By submitting videos for this contest, entrants give permission for the South Dakota Soil Health Coalition to publish and display them, in part or in whole, in any media, venue, or format.

To enter the contest, students must submit an original video of no more than 4 minutes in length addressing the question: How would improved soil health benefit your community?

Students are encouraged to be creative with scripts and video editing.

Entrants also must complete the entry form which can be downloaded here. Please provide complete addresses. The team members and their parents or guardians must sign the form in order for the contest submission to be considered.

The video file, along with the completed and signed entry form, must be submitted via a file transfer service to no later than Jan. 7, 2024. (Video files should not be emailed directly because the files are too large. Use a file transfer service instead.) Contact Stan Wise at 605-368-4091 or the email above to confirm your file transfer link was received. If students use music in the video, they must submit the audio license codes for the music on the attached form.

Winners will be announced at the 2024 Soil Health Conference, Jan. 23-24 in Rapid City.

If students have questions, they are encouraged to contact the South Dakota Soil Health Coalition at or 605-280-4190.