State Soils

Just as many states have official state flowers, birds, and fossils, they also have official soils. State soils are most often determined by a vote of soil scientists in the state, and, absent any political wrangling, usually represent the most productive soils and those that most closely resemble everyone’s favorite soil: loam. As mentioned earlier, loam soils are almost equal parts sand, silt, and clay.


The state soil of Arkansas is a group of Vertisols, known as Stuttgart soils, that covers some 81,000 hectares (200,000 acres). These soils are found in the Lower Mississippi Valley, and they are ideal for rice production.


The dominance of Mollisols in the Great Plains extends into Kansas, so it is not surprising that the state soil of Kansas—the Harney series—is made up of Mollisols. Covering 1.6 million hectares (4 million acres), Harney soils make Kansas one of the largest producers of wheat, grain sorghum, and silage.


The state soil of Louisiana is the Ruston series. A type of Ultisol, Ruston soils are found in woodland environments, and they cover roughly 300,000 hectares (740,000 acres) of the state.


In Missouri, along the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, Menfro soils, a type of Alfisol, cover about 315,000 hectares (780,000 acres). These well-drained, loamy soils are used to grow a variety of crops ranging from corn to grapes to tobacco.


In Oklahoma, the state soil is called the Port series—Mollisols that cover 400,000 hectares (1 million acres) of land. These soils are agriculturally productive, and most areas of the Port series are used as cropland, supporting alfalfa, wheat, grain sorghum, and cotton.


Houston Black, a Vertisol, is the state soil of Texas. It covers 600,000 hectares (1.5 million acres) in a north-south trending belt in the far western portion of the Coastal Plain, where crops of cotton and corn are grown.