Southmont Crop State winning team

Front to Back, Left to Right; Front: Daniel Simpson, Lennon Woods, Harmony Norton and Hunter Thompson; Middle: Helen Butcher, Trent Reeves, Kylee Reeves, Naomi Plunkett, Natalie Rhoads and Ethan Smith; Back: Caden Allen, Levi Brush, Kelsey Thompson, Gabriel Little, Cole Rhoads, Caden Sixberry and Jenna Bushong. Photo courtesy of Southmont

The Southmont FFA senior crops judging team placed 1st at the State Crops Contest at Purdue on Saturday December 11, 2021 giving the school its 32nd state title in crops judging.  There were 49 teams and 192 individuals in the contest.  The first place team members were Cole Rhoads, Levi Brush, Kylee Reeves, and Gabriel Little. Southmont also had the third place team in the state. The third place team members were: Kelsey Thompson, Caden Sixberry, Jenna Bushong, and Caden Allen. Naomi Plunkett also competed.    

Each member of the 1st place team will receive a $500 scholarship given by the Southmont FFA Chapter.  

Southmont FFA had 4 members in the top 8 at the contest. Cole Rhoads placed 1st with 965 points out of 1000 points possible. Levi Brush placed 3rd, Kylee Reeves placed 4th, Gabriel Little placed 8th, Kelsey Thompson placed 13th, and Caden Sixberry placed 15th. 

The senior teams went undefeated this year placing 1st at all the competitions. Their first contest was at the Triton Invitational where they placed 1st and 3rd and then at the area contest the teams placed 1st and 2nd. 

The junior teams, placed 1st and 3rd at the Triton contest, placed 1st and 2nd at the Area contest. 

The Southmont FFA Junior High Crops team also won the state championship.  There were a total of 13 junior teams and 58 individuals.  The champion team members were: Natalie Rhoads, Helen Butcher, Trent Reeves, and Lennon Woods.  Individually Natalie Rhoads placed 1st, Helen Butcher placed 2nd, Trent Reeves placed 6th, and Lennon Woods placed 7th. Southmont’s team of Hunter Thompson, Ethan Smith, Daniel Simpson, and Harmony Norton placed 3rd in the state. Individually Hunter Thompson placed 11th, Ethan Smith placed 13th, Daniel Simpson 20th, and Harmony Norton 26th.  

Crops judging requires participants to identify 25 crops and weed plant specimens out of a list of 68 and 25 weed and crop seeds out of a list of 70 that are common in Indiana.  They also learn to grade eight grain samples according to the US grain grading standards and recognize grain diseases and damage factors that might lower grain quality and, therefore, market value.  The final part of the contest consists of a multiple choice quiz over weed control, crop production practices, and pesticide application techniques common in Indiana.

The members worked very hard this year staying after school for over 2 hours every day during the season and 3 hours the week of a contest.  The senior teams won every contest this year continuing Southmont’s winning tradition.  During the last 43 years Southmont has won the State contest 32 times and placed 2nd in the state 12 times.