It’s a simple question with a complex answer. Here’s a breakdown of what exactly humic acid is, how it forms, why the source of humics is vitally important, and how you can be sure you’re getting a superior product.
Humic acids are fully decomposed remains of organic life. They’re long-chain molecules that are high in weight and dark brown in color. They are not a single acid. Rather, “humic acid” is a broad term that refers to a complex mixture of many different acids that are soluble in alkaline solutions. They exist naturally as part of nature’s life cycle in soils, oceans, and streams.
When plants and animals die, their molecules become available in soil for use by other organisms. Bacteria, fungi, protozoa, earthworms, and even insects consume the fresh material. After long periods of time, when the decaying matter has been eaten and transformed through several cycles, what remains is a sturdy material that resists further decomposition, called humus. (This process is referred to as “humification”.) Humus is a general term that refers to highly complex, stable compounds that are resistant to further decomposition. And humus consists of three components–humic acids, fulvic acids, and humin. Humic and fulvic acids have proven invaluable for healthy soil environments, particularly for their contributions to soil structure and the transfer of nutrients between the soil and plants.
Unfortunately, many human activities have degraded and polluted soils, lessening the soil ecosystems (organic matter) and making some soils harmful to our environment and human health. Erosion is among the greatest causes of soil degradation, as essential topsoil is lost at rates far greater than it can be replaced. The continual application of inorganic fertilizers, combined with annual ploughing, can deplete the humus content of soils. To restore soil, organic matter must be replaced. And the eroded humus must be replaced from an outside source, because it takes so many years to develop naturally. Without a healthy amount of humus, the biological activity of the soil, and the plants that depend on it, is dramatically reduced. Healthy soils have organic matter in the 2-6% range. But many farming environments utilize soil with much lower levels of organic matter.
Throughout history, farmers have used humic acid to generate healthier plants and a higher crop yield. Today, humic acids are even more essential than ever, for the reasons mentioned above. Here are just a few of the many benefits of humic acid.
Humic acid products have flooded the marketplace. However, not all humics are created equal. In fact, some products are completely ineffectual, with nearly zero humic acid content. To make sure that you’re getting a quality product, be sure to find out where the material is being sourced from. All of our products are sourced from New Mexico, which is widely regarded as the premium source of humic acid products on Earth.