Formed by rocks, decaying plants and animals, soil is the outermost layer of Earth. Typically, soil consists of minerals, water, air and organic matter, and can vary from region to region. In fact, scientists have determined that there are currently over 70,000 kinds of soil that can be found in the United States alone, with each state having their own representative soil. If you want to see your state’s soil type, click here to visit the the NRCS Soils page, which provides a handy list.
Agriculturally, soil, especially healthy soil is essential; as up to 95% of our food supply requires healthy soil in order to be produced. Here are some additional facts about soil that you may not know:
- There are more microorganisms in just a handful of soil than there are people on this planet
- It can take up to 500 years to product just an inch of topsoil
- Healthy soil helps to prevent flooding by storing large quantities of water
- Soil can work filter out pollutants found in underground water
- Soil is generally a mix of sand, silt, and clay
- Plant roots help to hold soil together, working to reduce erosion
- Earthworms are extremely beneficial to soil health, digesting organic matter and recycling nutrients, which contribute to a richer top soil
- Between 5 and 10 tons of animal life can be found in a single acre of soil
- 31 soil types across the U.S. have gone extinct, mainly due to converted urban/suburban use, or damaging agricultural techniques
- 508 soil types are currently classified as endangered in regions across the U.S.
Right now, the biggest problem facing all of us is the loss of productive top soil through erosion, which can occur when soil is not held in place by a plant and its roots, with elements such as wind and rain washing the bare soil away. By planting more cover crops, those practicing regenerative agriculture can help to reduce erosion on their land.
Get the Latest News!
Stay up-to-date with the latest HMI happenings with our free bi-monthly e-newsletter, Covering Ground. New training opportunities, case studies, recipes, contests and more delivered right to you!
When you sign up, we’ll send you a free #LaVidaLocal window decal!
And now you can show your support of local farmers and ranchers with our #LaVidaLocal 100% organic cotton T-shirt and recycled shopping tote bag! Order yours today!