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NC Commissioner Troxler: Avoid Soil Sample Fees Now

Peak-season fees for testing soil samples is set to go into effect Dec. 1, which means homeowners and growers have several weeks to collect and submit your samples for free testing.  

  • Our Agronomic Services Division is about to enter its busiest time of the year for soil sampling.
  • In fact, the soil testing lab processes around 300,000 soil samples annually.
  • To encourage folks to send their samples in earlier, the lab implements a peak season fee of $4 per sample beginning Dec. 1 and running through March 31.
  • If you want to avoid the fee, take your samples now and submit them to the lab for processing and recommendations.
  • We continue to work on improving the efficiency in processing samples at the lab, and the public can help us with that.
  • It is important that samples have adequate grower, consultant and/or sample information so lab staff can ensure the sample being processed is connected to the correct client account.
  • Plus, the lab staff need to know what kind of sample recommendation is needed. Is for your yard and grass or for a vegetable garden?
  • Samples that are submitted without the proper information will be held and not processed while an attempt is made to obtain the missing information.
  • To ensure that your sample is processed soon after it arrives, there are a few easy steps to follow:
  • Pick up an NCDA&CS soil sample box from your local county cooperative extension office or from the soil lab at 4300 Reedy Creek Road in Raleigh.
  • When collecting a sample, be sure to fill it to the red line on the box. This is important to ensure there is enough soil to be tested.
  • You will also need to complete a homeowner soil submission form that will include a crop code for plant-specific recommendations.
  • Soil test results are emailed, so it is important that you also include a valid email address. Adding a current phone number can be helpful as well.
  • You can find a fillable form online at the Agronomic Services website under the soil testing link on the right hand side of the page.
  • Make sure the information listed on your form matches what is on your sample boxes.
  • Once you complete the submission form, save a copy for your files.
  • Pack your boxes securely for shipping. Padded mailing envelopes are NOT recommended. Check with your cooperative extension office because some will deliver them to Raleigh for testing.
  • You can use an online data entry feature on the Agronomic Services’ PALS website to enter your information, but you need to also include a copy of the submission form with the soil sample boxes.
  • If you have questions, you can contact the Agronomic Services Division at 919-664-1600 and someone will help you with the process.
  • Again, to avoid the peak-season fee, samples must arrive to the lab by 4 p.m. Nov. 30.