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Agriculture Roundup

August 24, 2007

Unless the U.S. adopts different agricultural practices, the nation’s topsoil will continue to disappear at an alarming rate.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):
Is America running out of dirt? I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

We’ve long been concerned with conserving water; University of Washington earth scientist David Montgomery says we should be just as concerned with conserving soil. In a report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, he concludes that conventional agriculture is removing topsoil ten to a hundred times faster than it can be replenished. Montgomery calls for new methods to save the nation’s soil, including no-till agriculture that turns over far less soil than plowing. In other agricultural news, a new paper in the Journal of Consumer Research examined the effects of Community Supported Agriculture. That’s when community groups purchase shares of produce directly from farmers. The paper describes a variety of benefits, including a bond between farmers and their customers, and the encouragement of conservative, sustainable farming methods. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.