Saving our soil: How to extend US breadbasket fertility for centuries

The Midwestern United States has lost 57.6 billion tons of topsoil due to farming practices over the past 160 years, and the rate of erosion, even following the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s guidelines, is still 25 times higher than the rate at which topsoil forms. Yet, we need not despair: researchers recently reported that no-till farming, which is currently practiced on 40 percent of cropland acres in the Midwest, can extend our current level of soil fertility for the next several centuries. This has implications for everything from food security to climate-change mitigation.