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Student Organizations and Clubs

Agronomy and Conservation Club

The South Dakota State University (SDSU) Agronomy and Conservation Club is organized through the SDSU Student’s Association, and works with the Agronomy, Horticulture and Plant Science Department to give students opportunities and experiences to learn about the fields of agronomy and precision agriculture, develop leadership skills, provide service to the community, as well as giving students the opportunity to meet other students and Agronomy, Horticulture and Plant Science faculty. The club has approximately 60–70 members, most of which have an agricultural major. The SDSU Agronomy and Conservation Club is a chapter of the American Society of Agronomy-Students of Agronomy, Soil and Environmental Sciences (ASA-SASES), is affiliated with the South Dakota Soil and Water Conservation Society (SDSWCS), and is a student chapter of the international Soil and Water Conservation Society.

The Agronomy Club holds monthly business meetings. An agricultural business professional usually comes in and speaks about their industry, as well as career opportunities for students. We usually also have an activity following the business meeting to allow agricultural students to get to know each other better and to serve the community. The SDSU Agronomy Club also collects, mounts and sells crop and weed plants and seeds to regional FFA chapters and 4-H clubs as a fundraiser, as well as to raise awareness of the field of agronomy. Other activities the Agronomy and Conservation Club participate in include: the ABS College Ice Cream Social in August, Christmas party, Little International in March, the President’s Day trip in February to learn about agricultural businesses, attending and hosting regional (spring) and national (fall) ASA-SASES meetings, Hobo Day in October and holding two picnics (one at the beginning of the academic year and one at the end).

The SDSU Agronomy and Conservation Club invites you visit and join our club. If you or someone you know is interested in joining or being part of the SDSU Agronomy and Conservation Club, please contact the SDSU Agronomy, Horticulture and Plant Science Department (tel. 605-688-4600) or email us.

Club Advisors: Brent Turnipseed, Peter Kovacs and Doug Malo.

Horticulture Club

Horticulture Club is a GREAT way to get involved, get experience and make great friends! We are a very active club engaged with many service and learning activities. We host workshops and community events, have booths at many campus and community events, go on trips, participate in competitions, have plant sales and most importantly, have a great time!


  • Valentine’s Day Flower Sales in the Student Union
  • Ag Day Booth on campus
  • Ag Week Booth at Washington Pavilion in Sioux Falls
  • Host State FFA competition
  • Host and participate in Little I Horticulture Competitions
  • Pi Alpha Xi Horticulture Honor Society Initiation
  • Flower Arranging
  • Commencement
  • FFA Banquet
  • Educational Scholarship Banquet
  • SDSU Welcome Back Events
  • Ag Bio Ice Cream Social
  • Vegetable Sales
  • Summer Planter Sale
  • Mid America Collegiate Horticulture Society:
    • First Place Overall in 2014- Fargo, ND
    • First Place Overall in 2015 – Ames, IA
    • Host of Competition and Conference in 2012
    • First Place Overall in 2011 – Crookston, MN
    • Third Place in 2010 – Ames, IA
    • Host of Competition and Conference in 2012
    • First Place Overall in 2011 – Crookston, MN
    • Third Place in 2010 – Ames, IA
  • Trick-or-Trees at McCrory Gardens –
  • 35 student and Master Gardener participants, 350+ attended
  • Haunted Trail at McCrory Gardens – 400 attended
  • Wreath Making Workshop

We have 25–35 members and are open to students from all majors at SDSU. Our club charges $10 for annual dues to help pay for food at the monthly meetings.

Club Advisor: Brett Owens

Student Society of Arboriculture

To provide networking opportunities, acquisition of professional resources and to develop skills necessary for the career growth in the fields of arboriculture and urban forestry.

Club advisor:John Ball

Judging Teams

Crops Judging Team

South Dakota State University has a nationally recognized crops judging program. The team competes at the regional contest in the fall and at two national contests in November of each year. One contest is held in Kansas City and is primarily sponsored by the GIPSA-USDA-FGIS and the American Royal, and the other one is held in Chicago and is primarily sponsored by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (formerly the Chicago Board of Trade). SDSU has a long history as it has participated in the national collegiate crops contests for 50+ years, and has consistently placed in the top five in the past decade.

The contests each consist of three parts; grain grading, seed and plant identification and seed analysis.

  1. Grain Grading – this is the ability to recognize crop products for their market worth and involves knowing defects that reduce quality. Grading provides a basis for marketing and provides quality control over grain products, this determining their ultimate use. Students have to pick 8 samples and using both given and picked information and the FGIS Standards for Grading Grain, determine the grade and factors.
  2. Seed and Plant Identification – this training enables one to identify crops and weeds from around the country that are either grown for production, or are a weed that negatively impacts agriculture somewhere in the country. Students must identify 200 seed and plant samples in the contests.
  3. Seed Analysis – crops grown from pure seed maintain genetic purity and good quality. It is a means of determining the value of seed for planting and for market, thus providing a guide for all using seed.  Students have to analyze 10 samples for contaminants and correctly identify and classify each contaminant as either other crop seed, prohibited noxious, restricted noxious or common weed seed.

There are tours in Kansas City, Chicago and along the way that students take part in. Typically the teams tour the Kansas City FGIS Board of Appeals and Technical Center, Kansas City Board of Trade, Chicago Board of Trade plus many other ag-related industries. The SDSU Crops Judging Team is coached by Brent Turnipseed, Professor/Manager, SDSU Seed Testing Lab in the Plant Science Department at SDSU.

Soil Judging Team

South Dakota State University has a nationally recognized soil judging program. Our teams compete at regional contests in the fall and at national contests in the spring. During the past 40+ years our teams have consistently placed in the regional (1st to 4th) and national contests (1st to 15th). Approximately 80 teams start out in competition across the nation. More than 20 teams qualify for the national competition. Students are eligible to compete for four years and can start the team in their first year. All majors are welcome to join the team and to participate. Soil judging provides practical experience in evaluating the physical and chemical properties of soils important in making land use decisions. Soil forming factors (including site characteristics), soil classification, land use interpretations and soil morphology are all key parts of the judging process. The SDSU Soil Judging team is coached by Douglas Malo, Distinguished Professor of Pedology in the Agronomy, Horticulture and Plant Science Department in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences at SDSU.