In 2003 the Mississippi legislature formally declared that Natchez silt loam was the official state soil. The Professional Soil Classifiers Association of Mississippi, in consultation with Mississippi State University soil scientists, had selected Natchez silt loam to represent the soil resources of the state in 1988. Natchez soils exist on 171,559 acres in Mississippi (0.56 percent of the state).
The Natchez soils formed in very deep, wind-blown loess material on strongly sloping to very steep hillsides under a woodland environment and a climate that was warm and humid in the bluff hills that border the Mississippi Delta floodplains. These soils have natural fertility and desirable tilth, but the slopes on which they occur usually limit their use to trees. In areas with less steep slopes, pasture and row crops are grown, and the soil is very productive under good management.
- N. C. Brady and R. R. Weil, The Nature and Properties of Soils (2007)
- Mississippi State University Extension Service website, www.msucares.com
- US Department of Agriculture, Natural Resource Conservation Service website, http://soils.usda.gov