Thumbs up for downer

Wisconsin State Farmer

Madison — Many states have a designated state bird, flower — and a state soil. The “Downer” is the official state soil of New Jersey.  The Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) January 15 Soils Matter blog post explains why Downer is important to the Garden State.

The “Downer” is the official state soil of New Jersey.

A core sample of New Jersey's state soil, Downer, shows colorful layers.Downer soil has a loose, sandy surface and is formed in the coastal plain area. “It’s the base for New Jersey’s woodlands and high-value vegetables and fruits, such as peppers, tomatoes, cabbage, apples, asparagus, and sweet potatoes,” says blog author Wale Adewunmi, a soil scientist with Middlesex County Utilities Authority.

In addition, some of the soil has been used for sand mining, particularly for a soil mineral called greensand (glauconite). This can have value as fertilizer. “It continues to supply sand for glass, and sand and gravel for construction,” Adewunmi says. “The sand formations are productive aquifers and important ground water reservoirs.”

To read the entire blog post, visit

Follow SSSA on Facebook at, Twitter at SSSA_Soils. SSSA has soils information on, for teachers at, and for students through 12th grade,

The Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) is a progressive international scientific society that fosters the transfer of knowledge and practices to sustain global soils. Based in Madison, WI, and founded in 1936, SSSA is the professional home for 6,000+ members and 1,000+ certified professionals dedicated to advancing the field of soil science. The Society provides information about soils in relation to crop production, environmental quality, ecosystem sustainability, bioremediation, waste management, recycling, and wise land use.