Area students participate in soil contest


Students from four local high schools recently participated in an annual soil judging contest.


Thirty-six students from four local high schools gathered on May 16 at the Motor Mill Historical Site near Elkader for the 38th annual Clayton Soil & Water Conservation District soil judging contest. Members of the Clayton Ridge, Ed-Co, MFL Mar-Mac, and Valley FFA chapters judged soil profiles, tested their pacing ability, flagged contour lines, and completed a written quiz on soil properties. The contest provides an opportunity for contestants to develop and practice skills needed to protect our natural resources.  

This year’s top soil judging team was from MFL Mar-Mac. Team members included Wesley Ridenour, Tyler Rochleau, Alex Adney, and Ryan Moon. The team from Clayton Ridge took second. Team members included Dylan Preston, Carly Anderegg, Joe Kann, and Dustin Lundt. Jordyn Bolinger, Jerimiah Bailey, Larissa Shaw, and Olivia Bailey from Ed-Co placed third. Soil judging contestants complete a written quiz and evaluate soil profiles from three different sites. Contest questions are based on the properties of the soils and proper management practices. Wesley Ridenour from MFL Mar-Mac was the top individual soil judge. Tyler Rochleau, also from MFL Mar-Mac, took second.  Dylan Preston from Clayton Ridge took third place individual honors.  

This year’s top contour layout team was from Ed-Co. Team members were Olivia Bailey and Jerimiah Bailey. Kennie Orr, Phil Kleve, and Alex Fettkether from Valley took second place. Jordyn Bolinger, Larissa Shaw, and Kelly Staner of Ed-Co placed third. Contestants attempt to layout a level contour line over a long, winding field. The first place team from Ed-Co was within eleven hundredths of a foot of being level.  

Ryan Moon, MFL Mar-Mac, took first place in this year’s pacing contest. Tyler Rochleau and Alex Adney of MFL Mar-Mac placed second and third, respectively. Ryan judged the length of a 956 foot pacing course within one quarter foot of distance. 

Representatives of the Motor Mill Foundation were on hand to provide a tour of the site to participating students. Ray’s Excavating, Edgewood, constructed the soil pits. Technical assistance for the contest was provided by the staff of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) office in Elkader:  Pat Schaefers, Rocky Thein, Eric Palas, Steve Kiley, Angie Mohs, Jeff Seago, and Gina Parker. Soil Scientist Neil Sass served as official judge of the soil pits.    

Over 20 area businesses made this year’s contest possible.

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