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Potash is an abundant source for potassium and related salts, and is an essential nutrient for food crops (think fertilizer). Its name is derived from the historical method of production that involved leaching wood ash in large pots and scraping the white residue from the side of the pot. As a consequence, potash is pronounced pot-ash, and not poe-tash, as I initially suspected.

In the 1920’s, the U. S. government set aside over 9 million acres for review and classification in order to begin potash conservation efforts. A 1939 Order of the Secretary of the Interior created an initial Designated Potash Area (DPA) of 23,000 acres. This area has subsequently been enlarged to encompass approximately 497,002 acres, with 350,613 acres rich in both potash and oil and gas.

In examining title to Federal lands in New Mexico, I came across the following clause contained in Federal oil and gas leases:

“…Extraction of Helium – Lessor reserves the option of extracting or having extracted helium from gas production in a manner specified and by means provided by lessor at no expense or loss to lessee or owner of the gas. Lessee must include in any contract of sale of gas the provisions of this section…”