Submitted by Don Taylor
A course in soil science entitled “Soils” was first taught at UW-River Falls in 1919 to serve the program in Agricultural Education. A course titled “Drainage” was added in 1928, and renamed “Soil Erosion” in 1935. These two courses continued to serve the agricultural program until 1958 when an expansion of the soil science curriculum took place with the addition of courses in soil genesis and classification, soil analysis, soil physics, and soil conservation and fertility. Additional courses in soil chemistry, soil geography and conservation of natural resources were added in 1964.
In 1969 the soil science major was initiated within the Department of Plant and Earth Science. From 1969 to 1989 course offerings and major requirements remained stable with minor changes in course names and offerings. In 1990 the soils curriculum was reorganized to a semester format by combining several courses and including sufficient flexibility so that the program could be tailored to students’ individual needs and career goals.
In 1995, due to increasing interest in environmental aspects of soils science, two options were developed within the soil science major: soil science and environmental science. The soil science option was a traditional soil science program closely related to agriculture while the environmental Science option emphasized more basic sciences and soil relationships in the environment. A course entitled “Hydric Soils and Wetland Environments” was added to the curriculum.
In 2001 the Agronomy Major and the Soil Science Major were combined into a “Crop and Soil Science major with options available in either Crop Science or Soil Science. In 2007 a Sustainable Agriculture Option was added to the Crop and Soil Science Major.
The Crops and Soils Club at UW-River Falls has sponsored a soil judging team for many years. The soil judging team placed first in the NACTA soil judging contests of 1991, 1993 and 1994. In 1994, a UW-River Falls student, Christine Staven, was the top individual in the NACTA contest and in the State soil judging contest.
Larry Meyers, a faculty member in the soil science program, received the University of Wisconsin-River Falls Distinguished Teacher Award and the College of Agriculture NACTA Teaching Award in 1986.
|Faculty Member||Years||Area of Specialty|
|Albert Beaver||1966-1973||Soil Morphology and Genesis|
|Roger Swanson||1968-2006||Soil Chemistry and Fertility|
|Jimmy Richardson||1974-1976||Soil Morphology and Genesis|
|Aga Sagar||1976-1977||Soil Microbiology and Chemistry|
|Dale Hammermeister||1977-1979||Soil Fertility and Chemistry|
|Alex Simons||1979-1981||Soil Physics and Conservation|
|Elwood Black||1979-1984||Soil Fertility|
|Donavon Taylor||1981-present||Soil Physics and Conservation|
|Robert Beck||1984-1987||Soil Fertility|
|Michael Karr||1988-1994||Soil Fertility|
|Pamela Weller||1999-2015||Introductory Soil Science|
|William Anderson||2003-present||Soil Fertility|