By Ashley Rader
Close to 40 students in the Future Farmers of America and 4-H programs from Carter, Johnson, Unicoi, Sullivan and Washington counties took part in a competition that featured four soil judging areas, where students spent 25 minutes examining the qualities of the soil.
Jason Hughes with the Natural Resource Conservation Service said students looked at the soil and the land at each site. In each judging location, a hole had been dug so students could examine the layers and composition of the soil as it would be undisturbed. Soil was also piled nearby so students could examine it from that perspective as well.
“They are looking at the soil’s characteristics to determine if the land is suitable for building or for installing items like septic tanks,” Hughes said. “They are looking at if the land is suitable for crops or pasture land and if any buffers would need to be installed on the site. They will also be looking at the land capabilities, like what are the limitations for crops with the soil, what kind of crop yield could be expected for different crops and any environmental problems the land might have.”