In just one short presentation at the Conservation Tillage and Technology Conference in Ada, Newell Kitchen provided a great example that illustrates the complexities of the vexing water quality issues in Ohio agriculture.
Kitchen is with the USDA-ARS Cropping Systems and Water Quality Research Unit. Over the last two decades he has worked to address a challenge that has torn down civilizations for thousands of years — soil erosion.
“Civilizations didn’t so much collapse as they consumed themselves,” he said. “How do we get away from treating soils as consumable? When erosion consumes 1.5 inches of topsoil it takes 300 to 400 years to replace that soil if it is under grass. Erosion is still unfortunately a very active process on the agricultural landscape and it needs to be addressed. Sometimes we think a little erosion is not going to matter in the long run, but it does matter.”
To make matters worse, soil erosion also contributes significantly to problems with water quality.… Continue reading