Justus Freiherr von Liebig (1803-73), the well-known German chemist, is considered the father of the fertilizer industry and one of the greatest chemistry teachers of all time. His legacy, however, should be reframed, given how the daily use of nitrogen fertilizers today has severely depleted the nutrient content of our soil.

During the 1950s, former U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ezra Taft Benson and his assistant, Earl Butz, played key roles in supporting the heavy use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers and shifting economic policy in favor of large agribusiness firms and agricultural exports.

Source: “Food Justice” by Robert Gottlieb and Anupama Joshi

Justus von Liebig: Father of the Fertilizer Industry

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