"How do researchers know? Stardust."
"Midwest soil is eroding at an alarming rate according to new, first-of-its-kind research.
Researchers at the University of Massachusetts found that the rate of soil erosion in the Midwestern US is 10 to 1,000 times greater than it was before modern agriculture practices reigned supreme across the region. The study found that before modern agriculture, the rate of soil erosion was vastly smaller than what is now deemed an acceptable amount of erosion by the United States Department of Agriculture, or USDA.
“The Midwest is losing soil, for most of these sites, about 100 times faster than it’s forming,” Isaac Larsen, a geoscience professor at the University of Massachusetts and a study co-author, told Grist.
Larsen, an Iowa native, said the loss of soil is a concern across the board, from the fragility of food production to concerns over groundwater pollution. He said the rich soil the Midwest is known for has been eroding and replaced with synthetic chemicals like fertilizers and pesticides."