Soil erosion on farm ground in Iowa

Topsoil in Iowa is probably the single-most valuable ingredient in our agricultural economy. We raise our crops in it and our livestock feeds on the grain and hay that we produce from it. Between 12,500 and 14, 000 years ago, the last glacier receded from central Iowa.

Since then our topsoil has grown prairie plants and grasses. Then, about 150 years ago when European settlers, including my ancestors from Norway, Germany, and England, began plowing up the prairie sod, we began to expose the rich topsoil to wind and water erosion. Today, most of Iowa’s top soils are exposed in varying degrees to the wind and the water. At Iowa State University now there is a research project that is attempting to gather more accurate erosion data than we have had up to now.

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