Students Win Honors At NACTA Competition
Student members of the UW-River Falls Crops Team and Soils Team recently won trophies at a competition sponsored by the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture and held in Murfreesburo, Tenn. Fourteen baccalaureate and 11 two-year institutions participated in a variety of contests at the event, on the subjects of crops, soils, dairy cattle, horses, horticulture, agricultural computing, agribusiness management and livestock.
The NACTA Crops Team, which included Kevin Kruse, a senior from Loganville majoring in agronomy; Tom Casey, a junior from Rockford, Ill., majoring in agronomy; Seth Anderson, a junior from Ettrick majoring in broad area agriculture; and Dustin Neugebauer, a sophomore from Bigelow, Minn., majoring in crop and soil science, placed second in the nation.
Kansas State University placed first and Iowa State University placed third in the competition.
Joe Bollman, a sophomore from Rice Lake majoring in biotechnology, accompanied the team as an alternate. Agronomy Professor Bill Anderson trained and coached the team.
"I can't say enough about this team," said Anderson. "The students showed off their knowledge and skills in a variety of areas, including a comprehensive exam that tested their agronomic knowledge.
"The students were asked to identify 100 samples of crops and weeds in all stages of growth, as well as 100 samples of insects, diseases and other practical items relevant to the successful management of crops. They were also asked to demonstrate their math skills, solving numerous problems, all of which related to agricultural applications."
The NACTA Soils Team, consisting of Brian Hanson, a senior from Clintonville majoring in agricultural engineering; Silke Haas, a senior from Sparta majoring in agronomy; and Tina Barone, a senior from Eau Claire majoring in crop and soil science, also placed second in the nation.
Purdue University placed first and Kansas State placed third in the competition.
Soils Professor Larry Meyers trained and coached the team. Meyers was especially proud of the team for winning, since it consisted of only three members while the other teams had four. He said what the students learned from the experience is more important than winning, but he was pleased that they did well.
"The students were well prepared," he said. "They took four courses in soils, and I spent a lot of hours with them. Students who finish this course of study on soils will be trained to map, describe and interpret soil properties. They will also have the background necessary to do environmental work."
"The main benefit of this type of competition is that it gives the students a good opportunity to study soils around the country," he said.
Kruse earned recognition as the third high individual in the national crops contest. Hanson was the second high individual in the national soils contest, and Haas was fourth.
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