Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Games, Food, Farm Tour to Celebrate Soil District

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Games, Food, Farm Tour to Celebrate Soil District

Article excerpt

Most soil experts agree with Robert Harryman, a conservationist from Harrison County, who said that six inches of topsoil was all that separated us from starvation.

"Without that topsoil, the subsoil doesn't have the fertility, structure and water-absorbing capacity to supply our food, clothing and shelter," explained Karen Grimes, education specialist with the St. Charles County Soil and Water Conservation District.

In 1937 President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked landowners across the nation to promote management of the resources of soil and water.

"The nation that destroys its soil destroys itself," Roosevelt wrote at the time.

The St. Charles County Soil and Water Conservation District, organized in 1944, was the fourth of 14 districts in Missouri. The primary purpose of the district was and is to promote the protection, maintenance, improvement and wise use of its soil and water resources.

"We also address urban concerns because we are a rapidly expanding urban community," Grimes said.

There are about 794 active conservation plans in St. Charles County. Conservation practices include rotating crops, building terraces, ponds, lakes and drainage ditches and promoting minimum tillage, which takes the place of plowing.

The St. Charles District will celebrate its 50th anniversary from 2 to 7 p.m. Saturday at Rotary Park in Wentzville. There will be games and activities for children, dinner for everyone and a farm tour for adults. Reservations for dinner may be made by calling 724-2237.

Foristell farmer Eugene Ryan will conduct a wagon tour of his farm for Saturday's celebration. Ryan owns 157 acres of land on Meyer Road across from Rotary Park. He has been involved with the soil conservation district since 1947 when he and his wife, Zeta, bought the farm.

Ryan remembers when farmers plowed from fence to fence.

"The problem with that was that the ground got thin and washed away," he said. "The fertility left with the soil."

Ryan's plow sits idle. …

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