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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 51 No. 6, p. 1401-1405
    Received: Jan 2, 1987

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Some Personal Reflections on Soil Science and Agriculture, 1936 to 19861

  1. Daniel G. Aldrich Jr.2



The personal reflections of the author on soil science and agriculture, 1936 to 1986, provide graphic evidence of the changes that have taken place in soil science. By way of illustration, changes in research that have taken place in Div. S-1, S-2, S-3, and S-4 are highlighted. The forces that drive the changes in soil science relate directly to funds supporting soil and plant research. Such funding is crucial in furthering our understanding of the fundamental chemistry, physics, and biology of soils and our ability to relate and utilize this knowledge in solving soil-plant-water problems of agriculture, however and wherever it is practiced today. Over the past half century, U.S. Agriculture has changed dramatically, moving more and more from an independent, production-oriented sector of the economy toward a technologically advanced, interdependent system that distributes food and fiber worldwide. As these changes in American agriculture continue to take place, the agricultural education and research system is being called upon to broaden the traditional context within which it has functioned in order to address significant societal concerns. These legitimate societal issues include concerns about preserving the viability of our agricultural infrastructure, increasing the agricultural literacy among the general population, maintaining the quality of our environment, and improving the health and nutrition of our citizens. Thus as the case is made for obtaining support for research in soil science and agriculture, it must contain evidence of how fundamental knowledge generated by research expands the foundation of applied or problem-solving research and development that is vital to society.

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