A drive through sunny Bridge, Oregon, last Tuesday would have revealed dozens of students working in soil pits scattered through farm fields for the Umpqua District Soil Judging Career Development Event.

The Sutherlin FFA Soils teams won first place at the district competition. Elkton FFA took second in both divisions, followed by Oakland.

The Soils CDE teaches students the basic needs for agricultural land, whether it be for crops or for livestock. All members are required to take samples from four different soil pits for the land’s slope and drainage, quality of the soil, the different types of soil found in each pit, and determine what activity the land would be best suited for.

“What I like most about the soil CDE is the hands-on learning,” said Madyson Doolittle-Brown, a Sutherlin sophomore. “It was a lot to learn, but now I’ll never look at the ground the same way again. There is so much more to what is in soil than I first expected.”

“The experience was really great! It was very cool to take what we’ve been learning and apply it to a new setting that we can’t usually get in class,” said Tegan Lofton, a Sutherlin junior. “Evaluating the soil completely independently taught me more how to think through the process and I am a lot more confident in my skills for it.”

Sutherlin will now move on to compete in the State Soils Career Development Event, also known as CDE, that is being held in John Day on Tuesday.

Lainey Sherman is the FFA reporter for Sutherlin High School.

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