Saturday, February 28, 2015

UAM School of Agriculture To Host National Collegiate Soil Judging Competition

            MONTICELLO, AR — Soil judging teams from colleges and universities across the country will travel to the University of Arkansas at Monticello April 19-24 for the 2015 National Collegiate SoilJudging Competition. The event is sponsored annually by the American Society of Agronomy and the Soil Science Society of America.
            Twenty-two teams are expected to participate in the competition after qualifying for the national contest atregional competitions held during the fall semester. The teams are comprised of top students in soils, agronomy, geology, earth science and related majors. The event coincides with the 68th General Asembly of the United Nations declaration of 2015 as the “International Year of Soils.” The top four finishers at the national competition will represent the U.S. at the International Field Course and Soil Judging Contest in Gödöllö, Hungary in September.

            “This is a special event for UAM, for the School of Agriculture, and for Arkansas,” said Dr. Paul Francis, professor of plant and soil science at UAM. “These students represent the best and brightest in their disciplines.”
            Collegiate soil judging contests in the U.S. began more than a half century ago and involve the description, classification and interpretation of soil. The events help students recognize important soil and landscape properties and how these characteristics are used to manage soils appropriately with conservation in mind. Contestants enter a soil pit to explore the soil profile, typically a series of unique horizonsthat formed from the combined effects of geology, climate, topography, organisms, and time.  The judges then determine where the different horizons are and describe each one, inspecting factors such as soil texture, color, depth, consistency, shape, structure, and other features. The soil is then classified, and site and soil interpretations are performed.

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