Erosion; Colbert County; Alabama; farmers; TVA
The main goal of the TVA was to produce fertilizer to help the Tennessee Valley residents improve their soil. The fertilizer was made in Nitrate Plant No. 2 in Colbert County. By having a steady source of fertilizer the TVA was able to start experimenting on how to help improve the impoverished, eroded farms. With agriculture being the main source of income and livelihood for many people, the land became stripped of essential nutrients after planting of the same crop over and over. Top soil started to wash away with every rain making it harder and harder to produce crops, mainly cotton. The TVA was needed to improve these awful conditions. It is estimated up to 85% of the farm-able land was eroded by 1930. The scientists at the TVA came up with efficient ways to add fertilizer, full of nitrates, to impoverished farmland. Before the TVA, few farmers had the means to add fertilizer to their lands, as this required growing less produce and limiting their already meager income. Many of the restored farmlands became grazing fields for livestock, rather than to continue planting crops.
Carrie Keener, University of North Alabama
McCarthy, Dennis M. 1983. The First Fifty Years: Changed Land, Changed Lives: State Of The Environment Of The Tennessee Valley. Knoxville: Tennessee Valley Authority.
Alabama Cultural Resource Survey
December 9, 2015