Nebraska students win Regional Collegiate Soil Judging Contest

Nebraska’s Soil Judging team wins first-place overall at the Region 5 Soil Judging Contest.
Nebraska’s Soil Judging team wins first-place overall at the Region 5 Soil Judging Contest.

by Lana Koepke Johnson | Agronomy and Horticulture

The University of Nebraska–Lincoln Soil Judging Team won first-place overall at the Region 5 Soil Judging Contest October 2 to 7. Iowa State University hosted the contest which was held near Lake Okoboji in northwest Iowa.

For three days, teams practiced at soil pits at various locations to learn about the soils and landscapes of the area. Competition day consisted of an individual portion in the morning and team/group portion in the afternoon. Students had to correctly identify, evaluate, classify and describe soil profiles in previously unseen soil pits and then rate the area for land use.

Students and teams earned awards for the individual portion and as a team overall. Scores from both individual and team portions are used to determine overall team rankings.

The contest included 60 students from Iowa State University, Kansas State University, South Dakota State University, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, University of Missouri, University of Nebraska–Lincoln and University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Six UNL students place in the top ten in the individual contests. First-place went to junior environmental science major Ken Griffis. Mason Rutgers, junior plant and landscape systems major earned fourth-place. Fifth-place went to Mason Schumacher, junior environmental science major. Plant and landscape systems majors Rachel Clarkson, junior, and Charlotte Brockman, sophomore, earned sixth-place and ninth-place respectively. Jack Krebs, junior environmental science major, earned 10th-place.

Griffis was a member of the winning team representing the USA at the International Soil Judging Competition July 26-31, 2022 in Stirling, Scotland.

In the group/team portion of the contest, UNL placed fifth. UNL students also won first and second place awards for the jumble judging activity where students are sorted into mixed groups with students from another team.

UNL’s first-place overall win qualifies them to compete at the National Collegiate Soils Contest hosted by Oklahoma State University near Stillwater spring 2023. University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and Iowa State University placed second and third respectively, also qualified for nationals.

The team, made up of students from the School of Natural Resources and the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture, include:

  • Charlotte Brockman – junior plant and landscape systems, and Agricultural & Environmental Science Communication major
  • Rhiannon Carlile – senior environmental science major
  • Rachel Clarkson – junior plant and landscape systems major
  • Sean Glasshoff – senior environmental science major o Kennadi Griffis – junior environmental science major
  • Johnathan Kelly – senior environmental restoration science and water science major
  • Stephanie Kluthe – junior environmental science and insect science major
  • Jack Krebs – junior environmental science and water science major
  • Jenna Lance – senior environmental science major
  • Mason Rutgers – junior plant and landscape systems major o Isaiah Sattlefield – senior environmental science major
  • Mason Schumacher – junior environmental science major

Co-coaches for the team are Becky Young, Department of Agronomy and Horticulture assistant professor of practice and Judith Turk, pedologist with the Conservation and Survey Division in the School of Natural Resources.

To join the team, students must enroll in NRES/PLAS/SOIL 279 Soil Evaluation, a two-credit class offered each fall semester. Students can then enroll in NRES/PLAS/SOIL 379 Advanced Soil Evaluation to participate in additional soil judging contests.

Follow the team on Facebook.

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