In Northern Missouri, we have lost half our topsoil after 150 years of farming. We are on a collision course with ruining our land and our agriculture. Read David Montgomery's book, Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations. Preserving the topsoil we have right now is the biggest key to soil quality for centuries to come.

tillage erosion

Soil erosion has led to the collapse of dozens of early historic and prehistoric civilizations, agriculture in the U.S. Piedmont and continues to have an impact on corn and soybean yields in central Missouri. The value of topsoil is important for all civilizations.

Average erosion loss of 1 inch of top soil could be replaced by growing grass for 100 years.
One severe erosion event can carry away topsoil that would take 100 years growing grass to replace.
120 years of erosion. Average 7.7” of topsoil lost from erosional areas since farming started. Soybean: 7.7” x 0.7 bu/inch = 5.4 bu/acre x $15/bushel = $80/acre/year. Corn: 7.7” x 2.9 bu/inch = 22 bu/acre x $6/bushel = $134/acre/year. Corn-soybean rotation: average $107/acre/year.
Historical erosion is costing us over $100 per acre on our row crop land.
2012 artificial rainfall demo
Demonstration of no-till and cover crop reducing runoff and erosion.

See the full presentation on Erosion and the value of topsoil: the long view (PDF).