Bennett's concern for the land and the mammoth losses of soil as a result of soil erosion dated back to 1905, when he and his soil survey partner, W.E. McLendon, developed a theory of sheet erosion, which is the insidious but large unseen washing away of thin layers of topsoil (Heath, 2004). That very soil survey was taken in Louisa County, Virginia and was instrumental in Bennett's understanding of the link between soil erosion and soil quality.
As a result of Bennett's passion for soil conservation he eventually acquired $160,000 of federal funding in 1930 to be used specifically for "soil erosion investigations" (Heath 2004). In 1933, the Soil Erosion Service (SES) was established within the Department of Interior, with Bennett service as the first director.