By Deanna Kirk
Corsicana Daily Sun
Training pays off.
Just ask the land judging team at Mildred High School.
“These kids advanced to state the last two years in a row, which speaks to how good they are,” said Andy Calhoun, ag teacher at Mildred High School.
Lest one think Calhoun is a bit high on himself, he is quick to point out that these particular kids are “Mr. Wisdom’s students,” in that they are seniors this year, and were trained by former ag teacher Mike Wisdom on the finer points of land judging.
“I don’t know as much about it as they do, I did livestock judging in high school,” Calhoun admits. “We don’t have a district competition in this, they just go from area to state. Mildred has a long history of doing well in land judging.”
Tresa Bottoms, Jennifer Jock and Kaitlyn Greenup all competed April 10 in the area competition, with temperatures between 20 and 30 and driving rain and lightning. Kalli Young is also a team member, but was unable to make the area or state meets due to a conflict.
The all-girl team said the competition consists of being taken to different fields, where they are timed while checking depth of soil, erosion, slope, run off, texture of top soil and sub soil, if it’s fine or coarse, and whether you need to add minerals. The premise is to teach future farmers about crop placement and preparing the soil to create the best yield.
Only Young admits to having a “lucky knife,” and said without it, she does “horrible.” Greenup admitted signing up for soil judging as a way to get out of school, but said the more she did it, the better she became, actually leading her team last year as well as this year at area competition.
Even with their team already at a disadvantage by having only three members (the lowest score of a four-member team can be dropped), the team still did well enough at area competition April 10 to advance to state April 18. It is quite an honor to advance to state, especially two years running.
“Mr. Wisdom trained them well,” Calhoun said, who is about to wrap up his first year as an ag teacher. “This was his area of expertise, so having his guidance as freshmen and sophomores set them up well for success this year.
Deanna Kirk may be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Want to “Soundoff” on this story? Email: email@example.com