North Carolina State University

Why we need Agronomy in our lives

The Earth needs YOU! Because you need the Earth.

Do you enjoy breathing clear air, drinking fresh water and eating delicious foods? If the answer to any of those questions is yes then you need an Agronomist. The Agronomy program here at NC State will give the knowledge and tools to change the world or at least the actual earth. Agronomy is the study of plants, soils and their environment. An agronomist focuses on protecting the environment, conserving vital water and soil resources. They also work to sustain the world's food production. We need them to eat!

Soil

If it weren't for weathering, there would not be any soil on the Earths surface. In fact we would not be here right now. Nothing would. The Earth would be a barren desert. All natural resources require soil. Food, wood, paper, cotton, medicines, and even pure water come from soil. It is a very important resource. Soil needs to be carefully managed and cared for. If it is not cared for now, we will probably not be able to use it in the future. Soil is an ecosystem by itself.
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The Rate of Soil Formation

Soil is a mixture of different materials. Some of it is organic and some of it is non-organic. The organic part of it is made out of the remains of living things such as plants and animals. Usually, this is called humus. The non-organic stuff is made out of non-living things such as sand, gravel, pebbles, and other stuff. Also, in places where little weathering occurs, the soil is often thin and in places where the soil is weathered down a lot, most of the time the soil is very thick. It takes a very long time for the soil to develop. In some places it develops faster or in other places it takes longer. It depends on the slope or hill, the climate, and biological activity.

Remote sensing

Remote sensing is the collection of information about an object without making physical contact with the object (rather than an on site observation). Areas of Earth can be studied both on the surface and in the atmosphere and oceans. This can be done a number of ways like by means of using balloons and other aircrafts. They also use spacecrafts like satellites and space shuttles. The example below shows the collection of radiation data.
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Soil Importance

We use it to grow our crops, we use it purify our water, it provides essential nutrients to or beautiful forests, and it helps regulate the planets temperature as well as many of the Earth's greenhouse gases. It even does more then that! Soil is the foundation to a basic ecosystem. If it wasn't for soil, nothing on the Earth would exist. The Earth would be a bare lifeless planet with nothing but a sea of sand.

Misuses of Soil

Sadly, we often treat soil like dirt! In the recent past, soil has been misused as a "sink" for pollutants. People and often big companies use soil as a dumping ground for chemicals. Also, overgrazing of animals and land-use conversion (like numerous roads,buildings) increases erosion and exposure. Planting the same things and not crop rotating cause the soil to become depleted of its proper nutrients. This can cause a chain-effect on bacteria, plant growth and water purification.
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Soil Stewardship

I'm not sure if you know this, but each year one part of the Earth about the size of West Virginia becomes a desert. This is called decertification. However we can put a limit to that. Let's show some respect to the Earth. We can do this with soil stewardship. Soil stewardship is taking care of land to make sure that it doesn't turn bare. You can do that by planting new trees, not cutting down trees, and taking care of the trees in your yard. Anything that could help the environment can make the Earth a healthier planet to live on.