U of A Soil Judging Team Finishes 10th in National Competition

U of A's soil judging team, made up of students in Bumpers College's Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences program, has finished in the top 10 in the nation each of the last two years (10th in 2024, sixth in 2023).
Kris Brye

U of A's soil judging team, made up of students in Bumpers College's Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences program, has finished in the top 10 in the nation each of the last two years (10th in 2024, sixth in 2023).

The U of A soil judging team competed in the National Soil Judging Contest in April and recorded a top 10 national finish.

The group, made up of students in crop, soil and environmental sciences in the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences, placed 10th in the nation overall out of 25 teams earning a spot in the finals. The team, coached by university professor of applied soil physics and pedology Kris Brye, also finished fifth in the team-judged pit portion of the contest.

Team members include Jonatha Brye, Katie Jansson, Claire Meara, Noah Solomon, Sophie Sward and Keara Taul.

Individually, Brye was 21st nationally, Sward 45th, Meara 49th and Jansson 79th among 99 undergraduate competitors.

"Having only four days of in-person practice to learn the parent materials, soil properties and landscapes of a completely different region of the country is very challenging for the students," Brye said. "However, it is a very rewarding feeling to know that you adapted to the unfamiliar surroundings well enough in a short period of time to be highly competitive in a contest like this. I couldn't be more proud of my team of students."

The finals were hosted by Iowa State University in the Ames, Iowa, area.

The group advanced to the national championships after winning the Region IV title last fall. In the regional competition, Jansson won the overall individual championship, finishing first among 31 competitors. Brye was second overall, Sward ninth and Meara 12th.

Arkansas has won the Region IV title the last two years and earned a spot in the national finals 12 times in 14 years. Arkansas has back-to-back top 10 national finishes after placing 10th this year and sixth in 2023.

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. For more information about Bumpers College, visit our website, and follow us on Twitter at @BumpersCollege and Instagram at BumpersCollege.

About the University of Arkansas: As Arkansas' flagship institution, the U of A provides an internationally competitive education in more than 200 academic programs. Founded in 1871, the U of A contributes more than $2.2 billion to Arkansas' economy through the teaching of new knowledge and skills, entrepreneurship and job development, discovery through research and creative activity while also providing training for professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the U of A among the few U.S. colleges and universities with the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the U of A among the top public universities in the nation. See how the U of A works to build a better world at Arkansas Research and Economic Development News.

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