The Dust Bowl

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The Dust Bowl
The rain went dry, and the Black Blizzard arose. Severe drought whipped across the Southern Plains. Strong dust storms carrying millions of tons of dirt covered every inch of the Southern Plains. Was this the weather acting out of character, or were farmers to blame for this catastrophic event? Intense decades of poor farming techniques with combined the drought caused the shattering disaster in the Southern Plains.

There were numerous events that led up to the Dust Bowl. One of which was the passage of the Homestead Act after the Civil War, this act allowed farmers to own larger amounts of land for very little money(“Dust Bowl”). Stated in the article “Blown Away”, “pioneers were encouraged to move westward, lured by advertisements depicting a bountiful Garden of Eden where grapes grew to the size of bowling balls and watermelons became as big as automobiles”. The start of World War 1 drove the demand and prices for cash crops, including wheat, to record highs (“Dust Bowl”). World War 1 encouraged farmers to hurriedly and dramatically increase cultivation (Klein). Modern technology, such as the invention of tractors, helped quicken the renovation in the 1920’s (“Blown Away”). “A Farmer with a team of horses would be happy to plow three acres a day. With a tractor, he could easily plow 50 acres a day” (“Dust Bowl”). The Home Act, World War 1 and modern technology combined led up to the Dust Bowl.

When farmers moved to the plains they changed the land drastically. Stated in the article “Dust Bowl”, fifty years before the Dust Bowl, the land was covered and protected by Buffalo grass. Also informed in the article, the Buffalo grass held moisture in the soil, protecting the ground from any harsh winds that would result blowing away the earth. When the farmers moved to the Southern Plains, they striped the land of the natural grasses, to plant the cash crops; wheat, cotton and corn (“Surviving the Dust Bowl”). The new plants that were planted...