Guano

Lead: As world population grew in the years before and after 1800 so did the demand for food. At the same time, much farm acreage was depleted, tired, unproductive. This problem was solved in part with guano.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Guano is bird excrement. Grouped with the droppings of bats and seals, it is perhaps the most potent natural fertilizer, and bird guano is the primo variety containing up to 16% nitrogen, 12% phosphorus, and 3% potassium. In the mid-19th century, guano was treated as if it were gold, provoked at least one fighting war, and made enormous fortunes for growers and suppliers alike.