Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
Help Survey Organic Content of U.S. Agricultural Soils

Publications \ The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener \ Spring 2009 \ Soil Survey

Principal research scientist Elham Ghabbour and chemistry professor Geoffrey Davies are directing a National Soil Research Project at Northeastern University (NU) in Boston to measure and monitor the humic (HA) and fulvic acid (FA) contents of U.S. agricultural topsoils (0 – 30 cm). These major, microbially-resistant organic soil components retain water, buffer pH, improve soil texture/permeability and regulate many other healthy soil functions. We are concerned that HAs and FAs are being depleted, leading to poorer soils. Soils may be rebuilt with HAs extracted from such sources as low rank coals that are of no use as fuels. Existing data do not distinguish HAs and FAs from transient soil organic matter such as leaf litter, shards and corn stover. Results from 150 samples indicate widely varied soil HA and FA contents. The NU group needs 1-pound, dried soil samples from U.S. farms and counties. The group will reimburse parcel post costs on request and will published and share results with soil donors on request.

Please send an air-dried 1-POUND sample of a surface (0-30 cm) agricultural soil of your County, with leaves, sticks, rocks, pebbles and obvious trash removed, noting its GPS location, texture and classification (if known). Please indicate on the form below if you have historical data for this soil but do not send the data yet. Please keep a copy of this completed form.
Soil Information Form (Please Use Capital Letters)

Your Last Name _________________________ First Name __________________ Middle initial(s) _____
Title (Mr., Ms.) ______
County ___________________________ State ____________________
Company/Agency __________________________________________________________________________
Street Address ______________________________ City/Town ______________________ Zip ____________
Phone: (       ) _______________________ Fax: (       ) ________________ E-mail _____________________
Sample Label/Date ________________ Shipping Date ______________
Historical data? (Y/N) ___ Texture ____________________Classification __________________
Other info, comments, questions_______________________________________________________________


Please ship soil sample sender-paid via UPS or USPS Parcel Post with the completed form to Prof. Geoffrey Davies, Dept. of Chemistry & Chemical Biology, Northeastern Univ., Boston, MA 02115-5000. FMI: Phone: (617) 373-7988/2834;;

MOF&G Cover Spring 2009
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