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Umpqua FFA District chapters gather for soils competition

October 7, 2017 GMT

Students within the Umpqua District FFA gathered in Glendale on Tuesday to compete in the annual Soil Judging Career Development Event.

All students performed well, with the Sutherlin FFA chapter placing first in both beginning and advanced categories. Oakland FFA placed second in both, while Elkton FFA rounded out each for third.

During the competition, students were required to examine soil pits to establish several different physical characteristics of the soil. They then determine how it could best be used and preserved. Four different pits were visited and four horizons examined at each pit.

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Douglas Soil and Water Conservation District’s Walt Barton helped with setting up, locating soil pits and officiating, which helped the event run smoothly. A total of nine schools and 119 students participated.

Soil is vital to agriculture, so the process of determining the best way it should be used is important as well.

“The soils competition highlights the importance of understanding the foundation of our planet’s most valuable natural resource,” said Sutherlin senior Tristan Vincent.

The techniques students were taught were similar to ones used by actual soil scientists out in the field, giving students interested in entering soil science or related fields a head start.

“I really enjoyed the CDE as well as learning about soils,” said Sutherlin sophomore Nolan Carson about the experience. “I gained a lot of information that I can apply in my future, and the hands-on experience of the competition definitely helped with that.”

Many of the local FFA chapters will be busy next week as they prepare for the Oregon FFA State Soils CDE, held Oct. 16 in Elkton.