Farmers In The Dust Bowl Essay

1795 words - 8 pages

The Dust Bowl probably had more of an impact on the farming industry then on any other industry in America. The Dust Bowl hit farmers hard but they had only themselves to blame. The way in which the farmers cultivated and produced their crops destroyed the land and after severe droughts left much of the land useless.
First to understand what impact the Dust Bowl had on the farmers it needs to be determined what the farmers did to cause the Dust Bowl. Farmers in the early 1900’s prior to the Dust Bowl understood many basic agricultural practices like rotating crops and the importance of grasslands in maintaining topsoil. During the 1920’s though many farmers got too greedy and decided to only grow the crops that would make them the most money ignoring the impact this decision would have on the soil. Farmers continually grew the same crops year after year slowly diminishing the nutrients in the soil until there was almost nothing left (Source 1.) As if this decision wasn’t bad enough farmers then proceeded to cultivate grasslands and plant enormous wheat fields. In the past this would have proved pointless as the farmer could not have dreamed to be able to harvest all of that wheat but with the invention and advancement of the tractor farmers could now plow much more land and increase profit (Source 4.) With the removal of large portions of grasslands the topsoil was no longer anchored down and was just waiting to be blown away by heavy winds. These issues were magnified by the fact that the Great Plains receive less than twenty inches of precipitation yearly on average which is lower than most other parts of the country. (Source 8) All of these decisions by the farmers were magnified when in 1931 a seven year drought period ensued which peaked in 1934 when the United States of America experienced the worst drought in the history of our nation (Source 2.) By combining severe droughts and poor soil it isn’t hard to imagine why so much farmland was destroyed and how the massive dust storms that swept the nation came to be.
To understand how devastating of an impact the dust bowl had on farmers it needs to be taken into consideration how far along the farming industry was prior to the dust bowl. During the 1920’s the farming industry was thriving as new inventions were enabling farmers to be more efficient and cultivate more crops than ever before. One issue with this mass production was that farmers all worked separately and competed against each other to drive down prices instead of negotiating and agreeing on a certain price for crops. In 1929 seventy-five percent of all of the United State’s exports were agricultural products. The value of the agricultural products exported in 1929 totaled an astonishing two billion dollars which represented ten percent of the United State’s income. Despite these astonishing numbers the average income of a typical farmer during this time was a meager $273 which was almost five hundred dollars less than the...

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