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Almost 70 students from area high schools evaluated soils near Elwood as part of an annual soil judging contest. Northeast High School came away with top placements.

The Clinton and Jackson Soil and Water Conservation Districts hosted their annual high school soil judging contest Sept. 23. 

Sixty-eight students from Bellevue, Calamus-Wheatland, Central DeWitt, Easton Valley, Maquoketa and Northeast participated in the event.   

This year’s competition was held north of Elwood, where students completed a written exam and evaluated three pits for surface and sub-surface features, land capability potential, management practice limitations, and suitability for non-agricultural uses. The process required contestants to consider limitations to the land’s productivity based on such things as soil depth, structure, texture and parent material, landscape position, slope, native vegetation, drainage and erosion class.

Carson Burken and Lauren Kilburg from Northeast High School earned top performances. Burken was the top individual with Kilburg finishing a close second. 

Northeast also accumulated the highest four-person score to win the team competition.

Organizers thanked all participants and coaches for their hard work and dedication. There were a lot of excellent scores from all the schools, they said.

Danny Kilburg allowed the use of his property, Wayne Whitman and M&W Tiling helped to dig the pits, and NRCS Soil Scientist Neil Sass provided the pit officials.