Five students who are studying at Ivy Tech Community College Wabash Valley, used classroom-earned knowledge and field experience to win the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA) Soil Judging Competition at the University of Minnesota-Crookston. More than 1,000 students from across the nation participated in the NACTA competition in a variety of contests.
The winning team members are:
- Cody Kosinki, from Clinton, IN
- Anthony Stowe, from Rockville, IN
- Dalton Lewis, from Linton, IN
- Lindsey Jones, from Terre Haute, IN
- Robin Stover, from Marshall, IL
John Rosene, agriculture program chair at Ivy Tech, said that knowledge of soils and soil characteristics is very useful for agriculture producers, but also in a variety of careers such as landscaping, custom application, site inspection for septic systems and more. “Soils are the foundation of agriculture as well as all kinds of construction, from residential to road construction. This contest allows students to see soils in unique places and evaluate them for crop productivity and other uses,” Rosene said. This year’s contest was held in an area that was once an ancient lake bed and featured heavy clay soils interspersed with sandy beach ridges. The primary crop grown in northwestern Minnesota is sugar beets. “We teach students about the origin and characteristics of varied soil types, but until you see something like this, it’s hard to really get a feel for a soil that doesn’t occur anywhere in our area” added Rosene.
At the competition, he said students had the opportunity for intense practice for three days prior to the competition in pits dug around the city. Rosene and Coach Brandon Hall, a former soil judge, attended the competition with the students.
The actual competition was at a location kept secret until the day of the contest. Students were divided into groups, and under controlled conditions, evaluated the soils for texture, structure, color and drainage. The students then judged the soils for their application to agricultural production and engineering uses.
Rosene said Ivy Tech Community College Wabash Valley began competing in 2010, and has placed in the Top 3, five times. “We’ve been very successful, however, this is the first time we’ve come in first.”