Extension celebrates 100 years of extending knowledge
Illinois might have been known for growing clover and cranberries rather than corn and soybeans if farmers in the early 1900s hadn’t followed recommendations from University of Illinois Extension agents to apply lime to the state’s highly acidic soil.
Demonstrations at agricultural experiment stations and on farmers’ fields across the state showing the benefits of using lime as a soil additive convinced farmers to use lime to balance the pH, making it possible to produce abundant crops of corn, soybeans, alfalfa and other pH-sensitive plants.
“Lime is made of calcium carbonate, which is also an ingredient in cement, so farmers feared using it. They thought it would make the soil hard,” said Robert Hoeft, U of I Director of Extension in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.
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