As long as farming was confined to the fairly level second bottom lands of these valleys, erosion was not a serious problem. However, after the land boom of the 1830’s, and with railroads to help solve the problem of transportation, new cotton farmers moved into the hills and basins of northern and central Mississippi, and erosion was aggravated to an extent which few economic historians have realized. Thus the first State geologist, Eugene Hilgard, writing of the country around Oxford in the 1850’s, noticed that: “Even the present generation is rife with complaints about the exhaustion of the soils—in a region which, thirty years ago, had but just received the first scratch of the plowshare.”
—Mississippi, A Guide To the Magnolia State (WPA, 1938)
David Jones, your Guide to Mississippi got some dirt under his nails to send this dispatch for Field Assignment #10 - Products and Manufacturing/Industry:
The soil of Mississippi is rich and deep in most places. Though not as deep as it was once before.
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David Jones is a State Guide to Mississippi. While going to school, he lived in five of the Southern states, from Virginia to Texas. Currently he can be found traveling the highways and back roads of Mississippi, helping people out when he can and exploring the hidden treasures of the state. You can find him on Tumblr at woodprof.tumblr.com.