Soil survey to be distributed Dec. 9

Soil survey to be distributed Dec. 9 by Connie Wulf The new soil survey for Clay County will be distributed to local farmers and other interested parties on Tuesday, Dec. 9 at the Extension building on High Street.

The program starts at 10 a.m. with soil scientists Kent Cooley, project leader for Clay County, and Bruce Kunze speaking on how the survey was made and how to use the survey to find the information you need. This will be a rare opportunity to talk with the soil scientist who did the actual field mapping and authored the manuscript.

Soil surveys are used by farmers, county equalization offices, real estate appraisers, building and highway contractors and others whose livelihood depends upon what is beneath their feet. Farmers use the maps to determine how suitable a field is for farming and the yield they can expect. County equalization offices use the survey to assess taxes, and contractors use it to determine things like soil stability and porosity.

It's been over 50 years since Clay County's last published soil survey. The Clay County County Conservation District started working towards the newly released soil survey back in the '80s by requesting the USDA Soil Conservation Service (now called the Natural Resources Conservation Service) update the soil survey done in the late '40s.

With funding assistance of $8,000 per year for three years from Clay County, NRCS stationed a team of soil scientists in Vermillion. Field mapping began in 1991 and was completed in 1993. With today's technology, NRCS soil scientists were able to complete the work with much greater detail than seen in the first survey.

The new soil survey data had been available since 1994 by site specific request. It was a stop gap solution that allowed the new information to be used until the manuscript was finished and the survey published. The soil survey has been digitized and is also available for a small fee on cd from the Natural Resources Conservation Services state office in Huron.

Those unable to attend the distribution on Tuesday, Dec. 9 may stop in the conservation office and pick up a survey while supplies last. Any inquires may be directed to the conservation office at 624-7060 extension 3.

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