Ten 4-H/FFA Teams Headed to Oklahoma
Soils season ends at LaPorte state contest.
Published on: Nov 14, 2006
If Lake Michigan wasn't in sight, it nearly was. Some 350 4-H and FFA students gathered recently in LaPorte, for one of the most northernmost state soil judging contests ever held. The actual contest was on the Department of Corrections Summit Farm near Michigan City, supposedly one of the highest, if not the highest, place in Indiana.
Rochester FFA Master's team took no prisoners, winning the overall event. A Masters team contains one or more members who have already competed at the National Land Judging Contest in Oklahoma. Since members can only compete there once, those teams are not eligible to return, and compete in a separate category, not in 4-H or FFA divisions.
Rochester was led by Ben Overmeyer, top scorer in the contest. His coach, Justin Pearson, received the coveted chrome-plated spade that goes each year to the coach of the highest-scoring team in the contest.
Top five-winning teams in the FFA division, headed to Oklahoma next May were: North Miami FFA; Hamilton Heights; Forest Park; Western Boone; and Hamilton Southeastern. Winning 4-H teams included White River Valley, North Miami, Fairfield, Argos and Southwood.
There is also a junior division for students grades 6th through 8th. Top five teams were South Decatur, Southwood, Hagerstown, Woodlan and Franklin.
Ironically, the host county, LaPorte, did not have any contestants in the contest. According to Gene Matzat, Extension educator for ag and natural resources in LaPorte County, none of the schools inside LaPorte County offer vo-ag in their curriculum. Students in the 4-H division do not have to be in an ag program, but many 4-H teams are coached by vo-ag teachers.
Purdue University soils specialist Gary Steinhardt headed up the contest again this year. It's his loyal dedication that keeps this one of the outstanding soil judging contests, and overall learning events, in the entire country.
Steinhardt also coaches at the collegiate level. His collegiate Purdue soils judging team recently won the regional contest in Wisconsin, and will compete for top national honors at the Collegiate Nationals to be held in Utah next March.