Over the last month, the Louisa-Muscatine (L&M) FFA Soil Judging Team has seen a lot of success. After earning second place at the Sub-District Contest on September 26th, the group advanced to the District Contest, where they placed fifth overall with one member placing individually as well. Now, the team hopes to continue their winning streak when they compete at the State Competition on October 12th at Iowa State University (which happened after this newspaper went to press).
In soil judging, FFA members must look at several multi-layered soil samples and provide accurate information about them. This includes determining the color, texture, and depth of each layer in the sample. In addition to correctly describing the attributes of each soil sample, contestants must also explain how to best use the soil (whether for crops, pastureland, or for house or other structures) and why they think this use makes the most sense.
To prepare for competition season, the L&M FFA Soil Judging Team took soil science, a dual credit class with Muscatine Community College (MCC). As part of their class, students analyzed soil samples in their classroom. They also gained field experience by digging soil pits and examining their contents on L&M FFA’s test plot and at several local farms. “We’ve been out looking at a lot of soil types to make sure we understand the different colors and textures,” detailed L&M FFA Advisor Adam Crews.
At the District Soil Judging Contest on October 1st in Muscatine, four students competed, Gage Connor, Joslin Crumly, Shad Fordyce, and Nathan Whittaker. Along with taking fifth place as a team, Connor earned fifth place as an individual out of 146 people competing, winning him a $100 scholarship from Muscatine Community College. This individual win continues a positive trend for Connor, who also earned second place individually out of 147 people at the Sub-District Contest.
As one of the top five teams in the Southeast District, the L&M FFA Soil Judging Team will advance to the State Competition. If their performance continues strong, they have a shot at advancing to the National Competition held in Indianapolis. If they make it that far, they will have the opportunity to compete alongside the L&M FFA Forestry and Nursery/Landscaping Teams, already scheduled to compete at nationals this November. Crews observes that the L&M FFA Soil Judging Team has, “been working very hard,” to prepare themselves for the State Competition, and he believes that they may very well have what it takes to get them all the way to nationals.