Bennett, Hugh Hammond

Bennett, Hugh Hammond,

1881–1960, American soil scientist, b. near Wadesboro, N.C. Known as the father of soil conservation, he first proposed the theory of sheet erosion of soils in 1905. He directed national programs of soil and water conservation and wrote many articles on the subject, laying the groundwork for consideration of soil conservation by Congress. His books include Soil Conservation (1939) and This Land We Defend (1942).
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Bennett, Hugh Hammond

(1881–1960) soil conservationist; born in Wadesboro, N.C. Raised on a 1,200 acre farm whose depleted soil made farming difficult, in 1903 he joined the Bureau of Soils at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and was soon working on problems of soil erosion. As supervisor of soil surveys (1909–28), he assessed agricultural possibilities in the Panama Canal Zone, inspected the land proposed for a territorial railroad in Alaska, and conducted soil surveys in Cuba. In 1928 he coauthored the USDA report "Soil Erosion, a National Menace," and persuaded Congress to fund an erosion control program (1933). He directed the Soil Erosion Service in the Department of the Interior, and, while a dust storm swept over the capital, he appealed to Congress for more action on soil conservation (1935). Congress enacted the Soil Conservation Act and Bennett became the first chief of the Soil Conservation Service.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.