The settling of the Americas by Europeans introduced
dry land farming that relied on rain and snow as water sources for agriculture
- land was free for the taking all one had to do was clear the forests or
plow the prairies. Unfortunately, without the annual flooding and supply of
silt supplied in the great flood plains of the hydrolic societies and smaller
river bottoms the land "played out" in five to ten years forcing the small
farm family to pack up and move west to new still untilled soils.
The first signs that the soil was "played out"
did not appear as obvious changes in the crops, but rather in the humans and
livestock relying on the land as a food source. The newborn infants, calves,
lambs and pigs were underweight, weak and died, the women, cows, ewes and
sows became infertile, pneumonia and flu killed people and animals of all
ages during the winter, adult humans and animals died of new unheard of diseases
many years before their expected time for death. To escape these terrible
places of death and despair people unceremoniously packed up and left.
Those who could not or would not leave their
exhausted homesteads finally observed declines in production, followed by
outright crop failure, erosion and dust bowl formation. This scenario occurred
over and over on small individual farms of America finally culminating in
a total ecological collapse that produced the great dust bowls of Oklahoma,
Texas, Nebraska, Iowa and Kansas in the 1930's.
The problem of the soil "playing
out" was not a mystery but an accepted part of the process of life and death
in dry land farming plains communities. There were numerous ways in which
to slow the process including the biblical method of letting the land rest
every seventh year, the application of animal manure to replace used up organic
matter, green manure (plant debris or ground cover crops grown to specifically
protect against wind erosion, hold moisture and add nitrogen to the soil),
composting plant and animal wastes to add to the humus of the soil and the
application of guano (large quantities of nitrogen rich droppings from shore
birds) and lastly the commercial fertilizers. These procedures and applications
only slowed or delayed the process of crop failure while initially keeping
tonnage and bushel production up.
While nearly all farmers understand
the necessity to maintain the optimal level of organic material and humus
in their fields to sustain tonnage production, very few realize the slow insidious
leaching and depletion of the life giving minerals (mining) from their land
- after all we pay them for tons and bushels, not for an analysis of minimal
levels of various minerals in each carrot, potato, broccoli, or bushel of
wheat or rice! This belief is summed up in a statement by a professor of soils
from Iowa State College of Agriculture Henry Cantwell Wallace (George Washington
Carver's favorite teacher and editor of the Wallace's Farmer ), "Nations
endure only as long as their topsoil." The statement should relay
the message that "Nations endure only as long as nutritional minerals are
available in their top soils!"
Click To Order
Toll Free 1-888-441-4184