Nearly 400 high school and middle school FFA and 4-H members and their coaches descended upon Bartholomew County recently for the state soils judging contest. It's one of the premier judging events of the year, ranking with livestock judging as far as creating interest and number of participants in a state contest.
This year's contest was held north and east of Columbus. Gary Steinhardt, Purdue University Extension soil scientist in charge of the technical part of the contest, used practice sites for a collegiate regional contest for the state contest as well. However, the actual event for collegiate and high school divisions were held at different locations.
Here are the top five teams in each division. The first division is for juniors, anyone not yet in high school. Some of these students were competing for the first time, others had competed before.
Results were: South Newton FFA, 1st; Rossville FFA, 2nd; Indian Creek FFA, 3rd, Adams County 4-H, 4th, and Franklin FFA, 5th.
In the 4-H senior division, 15 teams participated. The top five, all qualifying to go to Oklahoma, include: North Miami 4-H Green, 1st, Orleans 4-H, 2nd; Fairfield Sr. 4-H, 3rd; Argos 4-H gold, fourth; and North Miami 4-H Warriors, fifth.
In the Masters division for students who have already been to Oklahoma to compete, North Miami Masters, 1st, Fairfield FFA Masters 1, 2nd, North Miami Master Warriors, 3rd, South Newton Masters, 4th, and Rochester FFA Masters, 5th.
In the FFA division, out of 44 teams, the top five were: Southmont FFA Blue, 1st; North Miami FFA Warriors, 2nd; Franklin FFA, 3rd, North Miami FFA Gold, 4th, and Gibson Southern FFA, 5th.
Here's the "throwback" portion for the week – the first Indiana High School 4-H and FFA Soils Judging Contest was held in the early 1950s in a field just north of Hagerstown High School in Wayne County. A small stone marker commemorates the event.
And oh yes, this picture is from the 2014 state practice day, not from this year!