Michigan State Office
3001 Coolidge Road, Suite 250
East Lansing, MI 48823-6350
USDA Media Release
Completion of Soil Survey Celebrated at Ag Expo
EAST LANSING, Mich. – July 19, 2005 – A group of scientists who’ve spent their professional lives toiling in a little-noticed and under appreciated field had their day in the sun at this year’s annual Ag Expo at Michigan State University.
About 65 soil scientists were recognized for the completion of a giant undertaking, a soil survey of the entire state of Michigan. The project which began in 1901 will be completed this summer and was celebrated at Ag Expo. Following the event’s opening breakfast, a ceremonial soil sample was taken on the Ag Expo grounds representing the final sample that will be taken this summer.
“This is a big event for the soil scientists who participated in the survey, we have retirees and people coming from out of state to be here,” said Bill Frederick, state soil scientist for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.
The Michigan Soil Survey is part of the National Cooperative Soil Survey that was commissioned in 1899. In addition to the Natural Resources Conservation Service, employees from the U.S. Forest Service, the Michigan Department of Agriculture, Michigan State University and various county governments also worked on the project.
Soil scientists traveled to every corner of the state, taking thousands of samples and mapping soil types in farm fields, sand dunes and marshes on the state’s 36.5 million acres of land. Their efforts have provided a greater understanding of the state’s resources and geologic history. The information will be used to help plan future land use and to determine the suitability of land for specific uses such as agriculture, housing or other types of development.
The next stage of the soil survey, which involves digitizing the survey information and creating interactive maps, is well underway.
Group shot of many of the Michigan soil scientists involved.
Soil survey display tent with soil profiles.
Michigan state conservationist, Jack Bricker, taking his turn with the bucket auger.
Michigan state soil scientist Bill Frederick digging the ceremonial last hole with the gold auger and invited dignitaries.