Farm Progress is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Serving: IL

Soils judging contest adds educational activity for FFA members

clumps of soil on board
CONTEST: The Farm Progress Show will host a soils judging contest for FFA'ers on the first day of the show.
Teams from Indiana and Illinois will compete for prizes and bragging rights at the Farm Progress Show.

The 2017 Farm Progress Show soils judging contest will be held Aug. 29, beginning with registration at 8:30 a.m. CDT. The contest runs cafeteria-style. FFA members can go through the contest as they arrive at their own pace. Contest registration closes at 11 a.m. CDT.

Illinois FFA teams will compete using rules followed during Illinois FFA soils judging contests. Likewise, Indiana FFA teams and members will use Indiana rules. The judges will prepare official score cards for each hole based on the rules of each state.

This will be one of the first contests where the newly revised rules for Indiana soils judging will be used. Gary Steinhardt, Purdue University Extension soils specialist, says the main revisions involve adding and deleting practices students recommend, depending upon properties of the soil.

“We particularly wanted practices in the contest for home sites to line up more closely with what’s actually being done in the field in Indiana,” he says.

2 contests in 1
Illinois teams compete only against other teams from Illinois, and Indiana teams compete against Indiana teams. The same four pits are used for both states.

Indiana teams will evaluate two sites as ag land and two sites as potential home sites. Illinois teams evaluate both ag and home site use at each pit. A practice pit will be provided so teams can adjust themselves to soils at the Farm Progress site before starting the actual contest.

LOOK AND LEARN: FFA members interested in soils judging come to the Farm Progress Show to see what’s happening below the surface, not just above it.

Steinhardt serves as the official judge. Illinois soils scientists have also been invited to participate.

The Farm Progress Show site consists of both prairieland and timberland, depending upon where on the site the contest is located. Prairie soils are more common to Illinois, and timber soils are more common to Indiana.

Dennis Bowman and other volunteers from the University of Illinois Extension Service handle logistics and scoring of the contest.

Awards offered
What makes the Farm Progress Show soils judging contest unique is that it offers cash awards. That’s possible thanks to generous sponsorship of three different farm credit associations. These include Farm Credit Illinois and Farm Credit Mid-America.

Cash awards totaling $1,000 will be offered for teams and individuals in each state. The first-place team in each state receives $400, and second- and third-place teams get $100 each. The first-place individual in each state takes home $200, and second- and third-place individuals will be awarded $100 each.

Preregistration is encouraged. Registration forms were distributed through state FFA offices in each state. If your chapter registers in advance, you will receive notification about how to find the soils judging location once you arrive at the show. If your chapter needs a registration form, email [email protected]. If you have a question during the day of the event, call 317-431-8766.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.