Soil Judging Team Takes Fourth Place at National Competition

The MU Collegiate Soil Judging Team took fourth place in the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture Judging Conference 2023 Soils Contest, held April 12-15, in Modesto, California. Two students from the Mizzou team also placed in the top ten: India Williams, freshman in environmental sciences, placed sixth; Kali Dolson, sophomore in environmental sciences, received seventh place.

The team was composed of the following students (front row, in the photo): Sophie Teddy, sophomore in environmental sciences; Paige Simpson, sophomore in environmental sciences; Bit Sochacki, sophomore in environmental sciences; Dolson; Rosie Garza, senior in environmental sciences; Williams; Alayna Kruse, junior in environmental sciences; Kerry Clark (coach); Alex Kalisz, junior in environmental sciences; (back row, left to right): Lauren Clasbey, senior in environmental sciences; Heidi Gaertner, freshman in environmental sciences; V Marshall, senior in environmental sciences; Randi Noel, junior in plant sciences; Joey Meinert, assistant coach and graduate student in natural resources; Isaac Reinwald, senior in environmental sciences; Pierce Taylor, junior in plant sciences; Jeremy Wease, senior in environmental sciences; Dylan Sutton, senior in environmental sciences; Chris Kalogeris, senior in environmental sciences; Madisyn Branch, senior in environmental sciences.

The team is coached by Kerry Clark, assistant research professor and director of CAFNR International Programs.

The students and coaches saw duripans in soil for the first time, as well as large scale alluvial fans, Clark said.

“We also got to see road cuts of metamorphic and igneous rock that none of us had seen before. This includes serpentinite, marble, slate, granite, and pyrite-laden quartzs,” she said. “The contest took place amongst pecan and walnut orchards and the students got a first-hand view of agriculture in the CA central valley.”

The team also visited the coastal redwoods and a grove of giant sequoias, and hiked on Table Mountain in the Sierra Nevada foothills, made up of latite, from a pleistocene lava flow and covered with a wildflower bloom.

“All report that they learned more in the one-week trip than in a semester of classwork,” said Clark. “That is a typical response of students who do soil judging.”

The team’s trip was sponsored by the School of Natural Resources and the CAFNR Academic Programs Office, as well as a few individual donations, including one from Perry Agricultural Labs in Bowling Green.