National Soils Team

Blue River Valley High School (Henry County, IN) FFA Soils Judging Team Wins National Competition

The Blue River Valley High School FFA soils judging team including Eli Sayre (12th), Sam Morton (10th), Tim Knopp (10th), and Isaac Morton (9th) traveled to Oklahoma this week to compete in the 2024 FFA soils judging national competition.  The week culminated with the national soil classification championships held in El Reno, OK (hosted by Oklahoma State University's Agronomy Dept.).   The BRV FFA soils team staff sponsor is Mrs. ZoeAnn Chernowsky. The BRV soils coach is Mr. Jerry Chernowsky.

Official Press Release below.

May 3rd, 2024

Mr. McCormick,

It is my pleasure to present a report concerning the National Champion Land Judging Team. Blue River Valley FFA, from Indiana, competed and dominated the competition from 37 states, 99 schools and 389 individuals. Individually, Eli Sayre was the Reserve National Champion, Sam Morton was 9th, Isaac Morton was 22nd and Tim Knopp was 128th. Teams evaluate four soil locations. They must determine surface texture, subsurface texture, slope of the land, erosion, land class, major limiting soil factors, plus they have to make recommendations on proper soil management. In Indiana, soil judging starts in the fall. Teams start going to invitationals and teams must qualify at the area level contest. This school year, Blue River Valley placed first at the area contest on September 28th in Brookville, Indiana. The top six teams qualify through these area contests. Each team must place in the top 6 to be entered for the state contest. The state contest was held in Benton County Indiana on October 21st. Blue River placed 4th at the state contest. The top 5 teams in FFA and 4-H then represent Indiana at the National Land Judging Contest held in El Reno, Oklahoma. Blue River Valley won the FFA division by 26 points and beat all the 4-H teams by over 100 points. Blue River Valley FFA is the undisputed and reigning National Champions. The National Land Judging Contest is co-hosted by the Oklahoma Soil Conservation Districts and Oklahoma State University. This contest started in 1951 and Indiana has sent 10 teams to this contest each year for 73 years (with the exception of the COVID year). The team from Blue River Valley continues the awesome tradition of Indiana FFA and 4-H Teams. It is with great pride and pleasure to send this report to you.


Ron Wamsley
State of Indiana Soils Judging Coordinator

Other info requested:

Top 5 scores:
5th-South Dakota (Wessington Springs) 706
4th- Oklahoma (Vian) 709
3rd- West Virginia (Roane County) 728
2nd - Texas (Grady) 734
1st- Indiana (Blue River Valley) 760