Some 40 Indiana students and 40 Illinois students competed in the 2015 Farm Progress Show soil judging contest at Decatur, Ill. Winning teams and individuals in the Indiana division were awarded cash prizes sponsored by Farm Credit Mid –America.
The contest was held in the early days of the Farm Progress Show, then shelved until 2003. It was revived for the 50th anniversary show, and has been held ever since. There is a divdfision for Illinois soil judgers and a division for Indiana soil judgers. The two states use very different rules in evaluating soils.
While there are both timber and prairie soils located on the Farm Progress Show farms, this year's contest was held on prairie soils. These black, productive soils formed in loess, or wind-blown silt material, thousands of years ago.
Gary Steinhardt, Purdue University Extension soil specialist, was the official judge for the event. Jeff Smith of Farm Progress Companies plays a big role in helping get the pits dug for the contest. Dennis Bowman with the University of Illinois Extension assembles a group of volunteers to help operate the contest.
The top three individuals were Daniel Shedrow, Ross Kindig and Cheyenne Deno, all from South Newton FFA. The top three teams included two teams from South Newton, and the third place team from Indian Creek High School, located in Trafalgar in Johnson County.
First–place team members were Austin Berenda, Shedrow, Logan Glassburn and Kindig. The second place team consisted of Deno, Kathryn Weiss, Darrin Shedrow and Grace Kindig, The South Newton FFA advisor and soils judging coach is Darrell Allen.
Members of the third-place team form Indian Creek included Levi Spurgeon, Emma Spurgeon, Kasey Wilhoit and Zack Beasley. Their FFA advisor is Joseph Dunn.