The answer to this lies in understanding the rocks, geology, soil, and climate of the northeast Georgia piedmont. 350 million
years ago all of north Georgia was part of a long mountain range similar to the modern Himalayas. The area now at the surface
was about 15 kilometers (6 miles) beneath the surface (imagine deep beneath Mt. Everest!).
wears things down and rain dissolves minerals. Through time the mountains have eroded away leaving a core of crystalline
rocks called gneiss and schist. The gneiss of north Georgia is high in silica, iron, and aluminum with only a little bit
of calcium, magnesium, potassium and other elements needed for cash crops to flourish
complicate matters Georgia has a warm wet climate. Things dissolve faster in warm water than cold (can you dissolve sugar
in cold tea?). The rain acts on the rocks like boiling water draining though ground coffee. All of the goodies get carried
away leaving useless grounds behind – the north Georgia soil. In this case the little bit of soluble calcium, magnesium,
potassium, and phosphorous (all needed for nutritious plant growth) that did exist in the rocks gets carried away and eventually
ends up in the Savannah River and ultimately the Atlantic Ocean.
behind is a thick red saprolite soil with concentrated iron (rusted red to give the soil its color) and aluminum. It is not
cost-effective to grow cash crops in these soils, as it would take too much expensive commercial fertilizer, a dwindling natural
resource. However, the thick soils hold water very well and can support lush grass, brush, and trees. People cannot digest
this cellulose directly and they do not hold enough food content to make it work boiling and eating them directly.
Cattle are one of the few machines we know capable of converting this vegetation
into protein usable by humans. When you eat our beef you should be assured that you are consuming food that has made the
most efficient use possible of the soils of the region.