Teams traveled form far northern, far southern and south-central Indiana to compete in the 2013 Farm Progress Show soils judging contest. When the dust settled, a team from South Newton High School in Newton County took first, and a team form Gibson Southern High School was second.
"This was a challenging contest for high school students," says Gary Steinhardt, who selected sites and judged the pits for the contest. It consisted of two ag site and two home-site holes.
"Even though we were in Illinois where you expect dark, deep, often wet soils, the back side of the Farm Progress Show site has timber soils, more like what we see in Indiana. They are still Illinois soils, but not what you would expect to find in central Illinois."
Randy Staley, a private soils consultant in west-central Indiana, was on hand to explain to coaches and students why the soils were judged as they were scored.
South Newton captured first, fourth and fifth place. Gibson Southern was second, third and sixth. Southwestern of Shelby County was seventh, eighth and ninth.
Winning team members were Morgan Winder, Ross Kindig, Dean Whaley and Will Frederickson. Their coach is Darrell Allen, the FFA advisor.
The second place team from Gibson Southern High School included Grant Ziliak, Nathan McClain, Josh Nurrenbern and Mark Ness. Their coach is Richard Ritter, FFA advisor.
The top five individuals in the Indiana division were: Morgan Winder, South Newton, first; Emily Simpson, Gibson Southern, second; Ross Kindig, South Newton, third; Dan Shedrow, South Newton, fourth; and Grant Ziliak, Gibson Southern, fifth.
Winning teams and individuals were presented with certificates form Farm Progress Companies and monetary awards from Farm Credit Services Mid-America. In fact, Farm Credit Services Mid-America has sponsored awards for the winners from Indiana since the contest was restarted in 2003. It is held each time the show is at Decatur, Ill.