The Potosi FFA soil judging team competed at the National Land Judging Competition in Oklahoma on May 5th. The soil judging team earned the right to go in September when they competed in the state judging contest at Southwest Tech and placed third overall. The senior team is made up of Levi Groom, Logan Uppena, Natalie Edge, and Aspen Walsh, and is coached by Mrs. Brunton. The top five teams from each state qualify to compete at nationals. The other teams from Wisconsin were River Ridge, Lancaster, Black Hawk and Monticello.
This team is a little different than other senior teams that have competed because of all the time they had off from judging because of COVID. Most of them had not judged any soil since their only contest when they were sophomores, and one member just started judging soil this summer. This team worked really hard starting in March to learn what they needed to for the national contest.
The National competition is a bit different than the way we judge soil in Wisconsin. They put a lot more focus on the slope of the land and the spread for answers is a lot narrower, which means there is less room for error. Another thing that they judge at nationals is something called permeability, or the ability of water to move through the soil, and how that would affect the usage of the land. The color of the soil is a lot different than Wisconsin. Oklahoma’s soil is very high in iron, which gives it the distinctive red color. They also have much shallower top soil. All of our crops in Wisconsin are planted in the topsoil, so there isn´t a lot of focus on the subsoil here. In Oklahoma, the topsoil is shallower, so a lot of what gets judged there is more focused on the subsoil, where it will affect their crops more.
The team studied and practiced for the entire third quarter during power hour. They needed to a whole new score sheet that had different sections and questions they would have to use in Oklahoma. They also spent a lot of time practicing while they were in Oklahoma. The first four days they were there, they studied for most of the day. They put in a lot of work in order to do the best they could at nationals.
Thankfully, their hard work paid off. The team placed 23rd overall out of 103 teams in the nation, and Aspen Walsh placed 14th individually in the nation out of 389 individuals. They were also the top team to come from Wisconsin at nationals.