U of A Soil Judging Team Wins Region IV Title, 10th Straight Trip to Nationals

The team includes (from left) Katie Maxwell, Shane Ylagan, Machaela Morrison, Johnathan Brye, Arriana Ayala and Lilly Stults. They are coached by University Professor Kris Brye of the Department of Crop Science.
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The team includes (from left) Katie Maxwell, Shane Ylagan, Machaela Morrison, Johnathan Brye, Arriana Ayala and Lilly Stults. They are coached by University Professor Kris Brye of the Department of Crop Science.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The University of Arkansas soil judging team won the Region IV Collegiate Soil Judging Contest in October and has qualified for the national contest in the spring.

The U of A has qualified for the national event 10 consecutive years.

Machaela Morrison, Jonathan Brye and Shane Ylagan finished first, second and third, respectively, and Katie Maxwell was sixth among 35 individuals in a virtual competition.

Other team members are Arriana Ayala and Lilly Stults. The group, made up of students in the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Science's Department of Crop, Soil and Environmental Science, is coached by Kris Brye, University Professor of applied soil physics and pedology.

"When most other regions in the country decided not to have a regional contest at all in fall 2020, our region decided to conduct a virtual contest, which meant that students had to be given some information they otherwise would have had to determine themselves in the field and closely dissect a picture of a soil profile," said Brye. "This added some additional challenges because, with the given information, students had to focus on what to do with that information to make the rest of the decisions and interpretations. In the end, the University of Arkansas students rose to that challenge, individually and as a group, to demonstrate their knowledge and skill."

The Region IV virtual contest was hosted by Texas A&M University at Kingsville.

The 2020 national contest was canceled last spring. The U of A finished No. 17 in the country in 2019, No. 14 in 2018, No. 8 in 2017 and No. 9 in 2016.

About the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences: Bumpers College provides life-changing opportunities to position and prepare graduates who will be leaders in the businesses associated with foods, family, the environment, agriculture, sustainability and human quality of life; and who will be first-choice candidates of employers looking for leaders, innovators, policy makers and entrepreneurs. The college is named for Dale Bumpers, former Arkansas governor and longtime U.S. senator who made the state prominent in national and international agriculture.

About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among only 2 percent of universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.

Contacts

Robby Edwards, director of communications
Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences
479-575-4625, robbye@uark.edu

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