Course ID: AGRO 4761, Soil Judging, Sr. Level

FALL 2007


Prerequisites: AGRO 2251 Soil Judging, Sophomore level, 1 credit, 2 hours laboratory. 


Text(s) and supplemental books and materials:

Soil Survey Manual, 1993 USDA NRCS publication.  Available for viewing or downloading at


Field Book For Describing and Sampling Soils, ver. 2.0 USDA-NRCS publication.  Available for downloading or viewing at:

(NOTE:  If you print this out, be sure and adjust your printer according to directions.  It is best to go ahead and order a waterproof hardcopy version for $25.  See the above web site for instructions on ordering.


Professor’s name: Paul B. Francis, AG 103, 460-1314,


Office hours: M,W,F 8-10;  M,T,Th 11-12;  W,F 1-4


Special policies statement:

1. Any student caught in an intentional, premeditated and blatant act of cheating on any assignment will be given the option of withdrawing from the course or receiving an ‘F’. 

2. Attendance at all class functions is required.  Attendance records will be kept on file for the occasional request from student loan representatives and potential employers.  Please notify the instructor if you are having to miss a class meeting so that it can be recorded as an excused absence.


Special dates of concern:

Oct. 22-26 – American Society of Agronomy Region IV soil judging contest.  Hosted by West Texas A&M.  All students are expected to travel and compete.


Goals and objectives:

The objective of this course is to train the student on advanced measurements and interpretations used by the USDA Soil Survey in describing soils.  At the completion of this course the student will be able to:

- Accurately dentify soil texture classification and percent clay in the field.

- Accurately characterize soil colors using the Munsell color system.

- Distinguish soil horizons, redoximorphic features, soil structure, structure grade,

   master horizon designations, transitional phases, and sub-surface horizon

   features used in classification.

- Be able to interpret the suitability of soils for various agriculture, forestry,

   engineering and recreation uses.

- Know the taxonomic classification of soil orders, sub-orders, great group,

   sub-groups and family.

- Know the formative elements for names of dominant Great Groups and their

  connotation in the southeast region of the U.S.

- Be able to differentiate between different soil mapping units in a field survey.

- Understand the relationships between soil development and landscape, geology

   human activity and time.


Provisions for tests and evaluations:

Grading will be based primarily through class participation and successful completion of class projects, such as field descriptions of soils.  Unexcused absences and failure to successfully complete assignments will result in letter grade deductions.


Grading policy:

The philosophy of grading in this course is that all students will begin the semester with a letter grade designation of ‘A’.  Failure to successfully complete assigned tasks will result in one letter grade deduction.  An integral part of the learning process is participation in the American Society of Agronomy Region IV soil judging contest.  Therefore, all students are required to attend and compete in the contest to ensure that they receive an ‘A’ for the course. 



“It is the policy of the University of Arkansas at Monticello to accommodate individuals with disabilities pursuant to federal law and the University’s commitment to equal educational opportunities.  It is the responsibility of the student to inform the instructor of any necessary accommodations at the beginning of the course.  Any student requiring accommodations should contact the Office of Special Student Services located in Harris Hall Room 120; phone 870 460-1026; TDD 870 460-1626; Fax 870 460-1926.”  


“UAM will no longer mail grade reports to all students.  You may access your grades through Campus Connect on the UAM Homepage,  To have your grades mailed to you, complete the grade request form available in the Registrar’s Office in Monticello, or the Student Services Office in Crossett or McGehee.”


“The following action is prohibited under the Student Conduct Code: Disorderly Conduct: Any behavior which disrupts the regular or normal functions of the University community, including behavior which breaches the peace or violates the rights of others.”