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The Most Brutal Threat to American Food Production

Photo of salt deposits at Lake Abert, Oregon

The news can talk a blue streak about GMOs and honey bee colony collapse, but the major 21st Century threat to agricultural production and food security is a problem as old as agriculture: soil salinity. Removing water from the soil (for example, through crop growth or evaporation) always leaves behind salts, which most plants don’t like because salt inhibits the flow of water through cell walls. Fields with accumulated salts won’t grow much of anything, putting a farmer out of work. Across North America, agricultural extensions study and report on soil salinity to do the very important work of helping farmers stay in business.

Keep Salt on the Table and Out of the Field

There are many ways to manage soil salinity and sodicity, as detailed by our colleagues at the Langdon Research Extension Center out of NDSU. Sometimes a farmer’s problem can be solved with extra water to dissolve salt crystals before they form a deadly crust on the soil surface, but other times it is a matter of managing the water table so that water isn’t leached away from the soil, leaving salts behind. Depending on where in North Dakota a farmer lives, Langdon also recommends deep plowing or mineral amendments.

The American food supply depends on the science being conducted by agricultural extensions like Langdon. Priorclave is proud to be the autoclave supplier for Langdon and other land-grant institutions. We don’t just sell steam sterilizers to research labs; we partner with you to make sure you have the right autoclave for the job, that you and your staff are comfortable using it, and that your autoclave stays in working order for decades to come.

[Photo credit: Jon Nelson, CC BY 2.0]