Soils are the medium that grows the vast majority of the food consumed world-wide, yet soil erosion diminishes agricultural production and ultimately threatens food security. In the U.S. major uncertainties still exist regarding the rates of soil erosion and soil formation. This research-intensive course will explore soils and soil erosion in the Midwestern U.S., one of the world's most important agricultural landscapes. Students will conduct a semester-long research project. During a pre-semester field trip, students will collect soils and make a variety of field measurements. During the semester, the lab component will be devoted to learning and applying a variety of measurements for characterizing the properties of the soils they collect, and to learning methods for determining rates of soil erosion and soil formation. Classroom sessions will be devoted to a wide range of topics related to agricultural soils, including: the glacial history of North America, soil forming factors, soil erosion processes and prediction, and agricultural policy.