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Purdue students brave snow to judge soilsPurdue students brave snow to judge soils

A Purdue soils judging team brings home a second-place tie despite tough conditions.

Tom J Bechman 1

May 19, 2018

1 Min Read
BRAVE THE ELEMENTS: Purdue students who judged soils in Nebraska despite April snow were: (left) Troye Hook, Joshua Randall, Robbie Armstrong, Sterling Lutter and Brittany Balcerak.Gary Steinhardt, Purdue Extension

“We only had to clear away snow from one pit so we could enter it,” Gary Steinhardt reports. “And the soil profile face wasn’t covered with snow.” That’s how Steinhardt, Extension soils specialist and coach of the Purdue University soils judging teams, describes their recent experience at a contest in Nebraska during the third week of April.

Back when Indiana’s state FFA and 4-H soils judging contest still used paper scorecards instead of computer Scantrons and the contest was held the first weekend in November, one student sent a message from a pit; he scribbled on his card: “Help, there are snowflakes out here!” The Purdue team’s recent experience in Nebraska makes that student’s “predicament” look tame!

The Purdue crew proved they could judge soils even in tough conditions. The team brought home a second-place tie out of 13 teams. Technically, the team finished third once the tie was broken by contest rules.

Purdue soil judgers were: Brittany Balcerak, fourth-place individual; Robbie Armstrong, sixth-place individual; Troye Hook, ninth-place individual; Sterling Lutter; and Joshua Randall. Cathy Egler helps Steinhardt coach the team.

HAPPY JUDGES: Warm and happy after tying for second place are: (left) Troye Hook, Brittany Balcerak, Robbie Armstrong, Joshua Randall and Sterling Lutter.

Purdue was participating in the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture collegiate soils contest. It was hosted this year by Northeast Community College in Norfolk, Neb. The Purdue Agronomy Student Activities fund and Purdue Research Foundation account helped make the trip possible.

About the Author(s)

Tom J Bechman 1

Editor, Indiana Prairie Farmer

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