Iowa State University Soil Judging Team Wins Regional Competition

October 20th, 2011

AMES, Iowa — A team of Iowa State University students won the 2011 American Society of Agronomy Region 5 Collegiate Soil Judging Contest in Pierre, S.D. Sept. 26-30. Eight Midwest universities and 61 students competed in the contest.

The team will travel to the national competition for the sixth consecutive year this spring. An Iowa State team has won the regional contest three of the last four years.

The 2011 team also was first in the group section of the contest. Four members of the team scored in the top 10 of the individual contest: Ben Butcher, first; Tyler Reimers, second; Scott Shannon, third; and Matt Riessen, 10th.

"These contests allow students to gain field experience with soils and land use in other regions and develop an appreciation of soil as a natural resource," said Jon Sandor, professor of agronomy and team coach.

The contest consisted of teams preparing detailed descriptions of soil horizons or layers, classifying soils according to U.S. soil taxonomy, determining geological characteristics of the site, making topographic and hydrologic measurements and interpreting soil properties for agricultural and urban land use.

Students participating in the contest were Butcher, a sophomore from Palmer; Heidi Dittmer, a junior from Lacona; Chris Flansburg, a senior from Albion, N.Y.; Tom Lawler, a junior from Clare; Alex Maeder, a senior from Orient; Elyssa McFarland, a senior from Columbus Junction; Shannon Mitchell, a senior from Pella; Rachel Owen, a senior from Polk City; Reimers, a junior from Denison; Riessen, a senior from Schleswig; and Shannon, a senior from Irwin. Sandor and graduate student Matthew Streeter, coach the team.



Jon Sandor, Agronomy, (515) 294-2209,

Melea Reicks Licht, Agriculture and Life Sciences Communications, (515) 294-8892,