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LHS FFA sweeps up soil competition

By Sarah Brown
Lebanon Local

Students in the Lebanon chapter of Future Farmers of America participated in the 70th annual FFA Soils Contest, held this year at Waterloo County Park, on Oct. 11.
Competing against approximately 150 students from eight schools across the district, Lebanon took first place in the advanced category. Individually, Taryn Cornell placed second, Devon Keene placed third, and Lebanon swept fifth through 10th place by, respectively, Jayden Keene, Tryston Majors, Teagan Cornell, Hunter Jacobsen, Zoe Fair and Karleen Jacobsen.
During the contest, students evaluate the properties of the soil (texture, color, structure, etc.), then interpret the soil to determine its best agricultural use. A soil scientist at the Linn County Soil and Water Conservation District had determined his own results, and the students’ answers were compared against his to determine winners.
Kevin Seifert, Linn SWCD Watershed tech, said there are multiple career opportunities for soil scientists, a field that pays quite well.
Wilson said his class has been practicing for the contest for several weeks by going to different sites. They will compete in the state competition in Dallas on Oct. 16 (after Lebanon Local has been published).
He indicated his students really enjoy participating in the soils contests. To prove the point, he shared a story about a team of sophomores who once qualified to attend the national competition (the only time Lebanon’s chapter qualified), but they didn’t go because it would then disqualify them from ever getting to compete in soils contests again during their junior and senior years.