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Alcorn program works to assist farmers through soil conservation initiative

By Renita Lacy | Alcorn State University

Soil conservation is an essential component of preserving cropping systems. It consists of a combination of practices used to protect the soil from degradation and involves treating the soil as a living ecosystem. Producers who choose to employ such practices on their farms reap various benefits, as soil conservation is proven to increase the quality and quantity of crop yields over time.

Beginning April, the Alcorn State University Extension Program’s Small Farmer, Rancher and Veteran Farmer Outreach Project will partner with Waters Agricultural Laboratories in Vicksburg to provide basic soil test kits to farmers.

According to Anthony Reed, co-principal investigator, the goal of the project is to assist producers in cultivating their soil, as well as to encourage soil testing to minimize the over- and under-fertilization of farmland.

The basic four soil test analysis will include available phosphorus, exchangeable potassium, magnesium, calcium, hydrogen, soil pH (water and buffer), cation exchange capacity, organic matter percent base saturation of cation elements, plus sulfate sulfur, boron, zinc, manganese, iron and copper.

Those interested can contact the Alcorn State University Extension Program for the basic soil test kit and it will be mailed to them free of charge. The individual will in turn collect the soil and mail in or drop off a sample to Waters Agricultural Laboratories, Inc., located at 4589 Hwy 61 south, Vicksburg, MS 39180.

For more information, or to receive your free soil test kit, contact Reed at areed@alcorn.edu or 601-877-2305. You may also contact Carolyn Banks, agricultural business management specialist, ASUEP, at cbanks@alcorn.edu or 601-877-6260.