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The Cornell Reading-Courses

LESSON FOR THE FARM

Published Semi-monthly by the New York State College of Agriculture at
Cornell University, Throughout the Year. Application for Entry as
Second-Class Matter at the Post Office at Ithaca, N. Y., Pending
L. H. BAILEY, Director

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The agricultural development of any region that has been settled for a generation or more is a very reliable index to the natural soil resources

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FIG. 1. The formation of soil goes on constantly on every part of the earth's surface, but it is usually most active in mountainous regions. Scene in the Swiss Alps

of that region. The variation in agricultural development of different sections is very largely a reflection of inherent differences in soil conditions.

There are, of course, other conditions that modify these differences, but the soil is one of the greatest natural resources of any people and largely determines its manner of life. It is greater than the mines of all the metals and fuel, the quarries of stone, the forests of timber, and the streams with their latent power and stock of food animals.

The soil, like almost every other natural resource, may be expended and wasted, and its usefulness, if not destroyed, may be brought to an exceedingly ineffective condition by careless and ignorant use.

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FIG. 2.-Accumulations of snow and ice in mountainous regions or regions of high latitude slide down the slope as shown in the above picture of an Alaskan glacier. This has been a very important means of soil formation, having at one time covered all of New York

On the other hand, so susceptible of re-creation is the soil that under careful and wise handling it is able to maintain its productiveness with scarcely a trace of diminution for decade after decade and century after century. Such has been the history of the soils of many sections of Europe. and of the other parts of the world. This long-continued productivity has not always been attained as a result of thorough scientific knowledge, but has rather been the outgrowth of empirical practice by which permanently efficient customs in tillage have been developed.

Nevertheless, probably every one will agree that a more permanently effective system of husbandry may be developed as a result of accurate

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