Our Livelihood: At Stake? This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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We in central Kansas use the land to make a living. We take for granted that the soil will always be fertile and rich, but if we continue to believe this, only trouble will follow. What will happen when the soil erodes and is so polluted we cannot farm? What would happen to our country since the “Bread Basket" produces half of the United States’ wheat?
One of the ways the soil’s quality is reduced is by erosion. When erosion occurs, it takes the fertile topsoil, leaving soil that is not as good. There are two main types of erosion, wind and water. When water runs off the field during a rainstorm, it carries some soil with it. The wind blows away the soil when it is dry.
Terraces are an excellent way to stop both types of erosion. When the wind blows the soil, it will land on another terrace, keeping it in your field, maybe not where it was, but still there. The same thing occurs with water erosion. The water cannot sweep the soil over the terrace so it remains and evaporates, leaving the soil in place.
Other ideas, like windbreaks and waterways, help reduce erosion too, but not as effectively. Their impact is limited; windbreaks only help with wind erosion, and waterways only help with water.
Fertilizers can be helpful or harmful, depending on which type is used. Chemical fertilizer may replenish lost nutrients, but it harms the rest of the environment. If we put too much on a field, the fertilizer may run off into a creek, polluting it. It could even sink into the water table, where we pump water out of to drink. Natural fertilizers (like manure, compost and ashes) are cheaper and better for the environment.
Crop striping (planting different crops that use different minerals) helps preserve soil. If we plant the same crop year after year, it will use up the minerals in the soil.
Since our livelihood depends on our soil, we need to preserve it. If we do not, our crops will not be as high a quality or quantity. There are several ways to protect soil, but we must do it. It will not just happen. So please, preserve our soil for generations to come. ^

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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