David Gentry, Team USA Places First in International Soil Judging Competition 

Picture of Soil Science winning team
Pictured above is the award-winning Team USA and contest support members. From left to right: Ben Smith, Virginia Tech University; Braden Povah, California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo; Kelli Roush, Iowa State; Brian Needelman, contest support professor, University of Maryland; Anna Scott, Clemson University; Emma Thompson, Utah State University; David Gentry, University of Tennessee, Knoxville; Joey Loffredo, University of Rhode Island; Sara Mack, contest support, University of Maryland; Erin Bush, contest support, Kansas State University; and Dan Brumm, University of Wisconsin, Platteville. Image submitted by Soil Science Society of America, Team USA. Download image​
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. ­– For many, a trip to Brazil sounds like vacation. But for one University of Tennessee student and his professor, traveling to Brazil was the chance of a lifetime to win on the international stage. David Gentry, a junior from Clinton, Tennessee, studying biosystems engineering and soil science, and Andrew Sherfy, a lecturer in the Department of Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science, traveled to Brazil with Team USA for the competition held on August 3.

Forty seven total students from 12 teams were challenged to describe, characterize and classify soil in the area surrounding Rio de Janeiro. The eight students from the U.S., each representing a different university, were split into two teams, both competing for first place.

Team USA swept the competition. In team judging, the two U.S. groups placed first and second, and individual students placed first, second, third and fourth in the individual competition, making Team USA the overall first and second place winners.

“I truly couldn’t be happier for and proud of the students involved. They represented the Soil Science Society of America, their respective universities and our country with distinction, professionalism and a positive attitude throughout the week,” says Sherfy. “It was an amazing experience overall.”

The International Soil Judging Competition is held every four years in countries around the world. The next competition, planned for 2022, will be held in Scotland.

The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture celebrates 50 years of excellence in providing Real. Life. Solutions. through teaching, discovery and service. ag.tennessee.edu​.



Andrew Sherfy, Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science, 865-974-7266, asherfy@utk.edu​