By Morgan Anderson, OCJ FFA reporter
As the age-old saying goes, “Winning isn’t everything,” but for the Seneca East FFA Chapter, their hard work certainly paid off. On Oct. 14, four FFA members competed in the State Agricultural Soils Career Development Event (CDE), and to their surprise, they came home as state champions.
“To be a state champion in the Agricultural Soils CDE still seems unreal,” Ella Martin said. “When I first looked at the results, I didn’t even believe what I saw. I was sure they had messed up and something was going to change. Being on a champion team is something I hope everyone gets to do. To be on a team and become close with my teammates is a bond and experience that I will never take for granted. I wouldn’t have wanted to experience this with another group of people, and I am so grateful for this opportunity.”
Individually, the team placed as follows:
- Ella Martin, 3rd place individual overall
- Logan Snavley, 11th place individual overall
- Blake Martin, 12th place individual overall
- Caroline Kagy, 14th place individual overall
At the contest, there were 193 teams and 1,093 students competing — making this win monumental for Seneca East FFA.
“It feels great to get a win,” Kagy said. “It was really exciting and a great way to represent the chapter.”
The Agricultural Soils CDE is an educational competition designed to teach students how to evaluate the land and its soil, as well as how to make decisions when faced with soil-related issues that impact agricultural production. Students learn different soil practices, how to judge soil pits and how to read a soil map.
“As a team, we spent many hours practicing and preparing for the state contest,” Ella Martin said. “On most Mondays and Wednesdays we would get together as a team and practice judging pits, or reviewing things we all felt needed work. However, a lot of this preparation was spent in our own time. I spent many hours trying to memorize management practices along with just overall practicing.”
“I worked with my ag advisor, Mr. Pozderac, to memorize some materials,” Snavely said. “He was a huge help to our soils team and was one of the main reasons we were so successful. Mr. Pozderac was a National Soils CDE champion in 2015, so he was very helpful throughout the year. Many community members also helped dig pits for us so we could judge them. We got to see many different soil types because of this.”
The team of students was quick to express their gratitude for others who helped them along the way, including Holly Pozderac, those who helped dig and prepare the soil pits for practice and competition, and many other teachers along the way.
“I would definitely like to thank my ag advisor for all the time he has put in with us,” Snavley said. “He has made so many sacrifices to be with our soils team. His wife Holly has been so nice to work with his schedule as well. I would also like to thank the community for supporting us on our journey and for digging pits for us to practice judging.”
The successful team learned plenty and had some fun too.
“I also want to thank my teammates for all the laughs and memories that will last a lifetime,” Ella Martin said. “Finally, I want to thank my parents and anyone else that has helped me and believed in me along the way. We truly couldn’t have done it without you.”
Along with being recongized at the 96th Ohio FFA Convention & Expo in May, the Seneca East FFA Chapter will also be competing at the National Soil Judging Contest in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, that same month.