Soil Judging- We Know All the Dirt!

If you ask me, soil is the most important and underestimated natural resource we have.  I could go on for days about why soil is awesome, but I know everyone doesn’t want to read that!  So, I’ll talk about my team instead!

 When people find out that I’m on the soil judging team I usually get a weird look and a comment like “You judge dirt?!” or “What’s there to judge about soil?”  Regardless of the reactions I get, I’m still proud of my team and what we’re doing!

Most of the group standing on the side of a cinder cone volcano in OR

Why am I so proud?

Being asked to explore the soil judging team was probably the first step that led me to the right study in college.  I’m so thankful that our coach, Dr. (Mickey) Ransom persuaded me to follow through and join the team.   I’ve met some great people that are never hesitant to answer my annoying questions, give advice on classes and professors, help me with my homework, or ask how I’m doing.  I get to travel to places like the beautiful Cascade Mountains and learn about the geological history of the land from experts who’ve studied and taught in countries all over the world.  I’ve been able to network with students and soil scientists from all over the country.  And best yet, I feel good about what I’m doing and I feel like I belong where I am. 

Coach Mickey and Asst. Coach Angela

Imagine This!

There’s a pit, 6 feet long, dug into the ground and you have to climb down in the pit (like walking into a grave!) loaded with a knife, muffin tin, and hydrochloric acid, and decipher the soil’s properties, processes, classification, history, and potential.  Sounds awesome, right?!

Me and 2 other judgers checking out a pit face


2010 Regionals in North Platte, NE

Team placing: 1st in Group Judging and 2nd overall

Individual placing: 7th– Tim Foster

 We also travelled to Bend, Oregon this spring for nationals, but didn’t place high.  The climate and geology there was a big challenge. 

 The next competition, coming this September, is 2011 Regionals in South Dakota.  I’m pumped!


 Being on the team has really helped me out, and I couldn’t be happier.  I encourage everyone to find some group, like a judging team or university club, to be a part of.  I know it’s said a lot, but it really does make a difference!

 Your friend,

Michelle Busch

 ~“The nation that destroys its soil destroys itself” –FDR~

Michelle Busch


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Filed under Agriculture, agronomy, judging, Kansas State University, Land, Sigma Alpha

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