Soil Judging


     There are many extracurricular activities to do at Lewis Cass. Outside of sports, there are many other extracurricular activities at Lewis Cass, such as clubs. One of the most common, and that a lot of students partake in, is FFA. Currently, Lewis Cass has 182 FFA members. Many members of the FFA here at Cass participate in a variety of contests. One of those contests many students participate in is soil judging.

     Going to a soils contest consists of judging the soil in many ways. At a contest, there are four pits dug for contestants to judge. There are two different types of pits also – ag site and home site (there are two of each at a contest). Once at a pit, a soil judger must identify nine different properties of the soil to determine what the soil is. These properties include the parent material, slope, landform, soil color, erosion of soil, surface and subsoil texture of the soil, drainage, and the limiting layer of the soil. From these properties, a soil judger has to determine different rules for this soil. 

    There are four levels of judging soil at Lewis Cass. Anyone in a soils class or has an interest, goes to county soils. County soils consists of any school from Cass, Miami, or Fulton county that wants to compete. This year, the teams at county soils were Lewis Cass, Rochester, North Miami, Pioneer, and Logansport. After county, schools then competed at area soils in North Judson. Lewis Cass took three high school teams and two junior high teams to area soils. To make it out of area, a high school team must be in the top five teams in either the FFA or 4-H division. Lewis Cass placed third in the FFA division and fifth in the 4-H division, so we advanced two teams to the state contest on October 15 in Laporte. The FFA team for Lewis Cass consisted of Allen Healton, Allara Henry, Trinety Gillem, and McCoy Taylor. The 4-H team consisted of Lexi Freeman, Carter Armstrong, Kinsey Mennen, and Maggie Taylor. Lewis Cass was also one place away from taking a junior high team to state. Junior high teams must place in the top two teams to make it. Cass placed third. 

     If a team can place in the top five teams in the state for their division, they get to go to the national contest in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. In Lewis Cass history, there has only been three teams to ever make it to the national contest in Oklahoma. The first team to ever go was in 1964. Since then, we have had two teams to make it in 2019 and 2020. The 2020 team consists of Cole McCloskey, LJ Hillis, Kyle Henry, and Keenan Appleton. Everyone on this team has got to go to Oklahoma twice now. While in Oklahoma, people from Lewis Cass stay in a very nice VRBO house. They get to go to many nice restaurants such as Cattlemen’s Steakhouse, Lambert’s Cafe, Braum’s, and Whataburger.

     Overall, if someone were to join FFA, here at Lewis Cass. I would advise them to try soil judging. In total, I have probably got to miss close to a full month of school due to soils contests and trips. Definitely some of the most enjoyable times for me during my high school career were in Oklahoma because of soils.