My Experience as a Visiting Scholar in Soil Resources Practical


February 29, 2020 - <>

Highlights 72, Philip Hegarty James, February 2020

I was privileged to come to Michigan State University (MSU) under the USAID funded Nigeria Agricultural Policy Project as a visiting scholar. This opportunity has opened me up to a whole new experience which I will forever cherish.

MSU is indeed a citadel of research and learning where students are exposed to modern methods and means of solving current issues with practical and sustainable solutions. The classroom setting is a “wow”, equipped with state-of-the-art learning facilities that will facilitate learning.

As a visiting scholar, I took courses on soil resources. This was an excellent and rewarding opportunity to work in a lively, critical and highly international environment, and this has contributed to expanding my understanding of soils. The class is 70% practical and 30% theory. As part of the practical, we went to the Crop and Soil Science Teaching and Research, Agronomy Farm for practical on soil profile.

I was really surprised; it was not the way I had been taught to do soil profile. What I had learned was to excavate a 2m x 2m x 2m section of soil to examine the soil horizons. This method is really tasking and fatigue.

At MSU, I learned a simple, better and less stressful way of doing soil profile. This method involved using a shovel to take a portion of soil down the profile and carefully place it on a metal container 2m long and examine the horizons. Using this method, one can do many profile descriptions without much stress. On the farm we did three profile descriptions on three different soil slopes (upper, middle and lower) to check the trends in soil properties down the slope.

It was fun learning and interacting with students and Professor James Crum. I now understand why the slogan of “Who will? Spartans1 will!” blankets the school. A Spartan is taught how to use all available knowledge, resources and training to change their world and succeed in whatever environment they find themselves.



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