Remembering Dr. Charles E. Kellogg, Soil Scientist and Chief of USDA’s Bureau of Chemistry and Soils
Recently, I had the honor of presiding at the Dedication of the Dr. Charles E. Kellogg Soil Survey Laboratory in Lincoln, Neb. The laboratory is part of the USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) National Soil Survey Center and serves as the primary source for the Nation’s soil information. With the recent celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the US Department of Agriculture, it struck me as a perfect place and a perfect time to honor both the work and the larger than life soil scientist, Dr. Charles E. Kellogg. His vision was one that was ahead of its time and the opportunity to revisit his ideas and remind everyone just how great a man and scientist he was, gave me great pride and enjoyment.
Dr. Kellogg was only the third Chief of USDA’s Bureau of Chemistry and Soils but still he was instrumental in shaping the National Cooperative Soil Survey Program that we know today. His vision included the establishment of soil laboratories and soil mapping standards that are envied around the world. He established the benchmark for excellence that continues today for the highest quality of soil information that can be understood and relied on by customers both local and global.
When I think of how technology has taken that information even further than Dr. Kellogg imagined, it brought a great sense of satisfaction to dedicate the laboratory to his memory and more importantly to his work. His belief that soil is the foundation of life continues to be his legacy. This was never an idle thought, but rather the very foundation for our country’s soil survey program, which Dr. Kellogg helped create. With that belief and commitment a robust, credible and foundational program was created that continues to address our natural resource challenges today and for the years ahead. We have Dr. Kellogg to thank for that. If he were alive today he would be proud to see his vision being realized on a daily basis by the work being done in the newly dedicated Dr. Charles E. Kellogg Soil Survey Laboratory in Lincoln, Neb.