“The soil is the ‘creative material’ of most of the basic needs of life. Creation starts with a handful of dust.”
William A. Albrecht (1888-1974) was the foremost authority on the relation of soil fertility to human health and earned four degrees from the University of Illinois. He went on to be emeritus Professor of Soils at the University of Missouri. Dr. Albrecht saw a direct link between soil quality and food quality - a link which necessarily lent itself to human health. His work made clear that health stems from the soil. He drew direct connections between poor quality forage crops, and ill health in livestock. He developed base-level requirements for soil nutrients which are still being used.
Throughout his life, Dr. Albrecht looked to nature to guide his research and learn what optimizes soil, plant, animal, and even human health. Fairly early on in his research, Albrecht attributed many common disease conditions found in livestock directly to those animals being fed poor quality feeds. In Albrecht’s mind, that meant forage grown on soils that were deficient in essential elements. Put yet another way, Albrecht insightfully observed that “Food is fabricated soil fertility.”
Dr. Albrecht's collection of research and papers now belongs to the sustainable agriculture magazine, Acres USA.