The Dust Bowl of the 1930’s, forced many families to move to different parts of the country, devastated the livelihoods of farmers; the relief was The New Deal. “Dust Bowl” was a term born in the hard times from the people who lived in the drought-stricken region during the great depression. The “Dust Bowl Days” also known as the “Dirty Thirties” took their toll on the people of this region of the country with the many extremes of weather: blizzards, tornadoes, floods, droughts, and dirt storms. This disaster occurred in the area of The Great Plains, which covered parts of Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas.
It occurred during the years of 1933 to 1939. The uprooting, poverty, and human suffering caused during this period is notably shown in John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. So the question is how did it happen? What was the relief? Its cause is complicated. Poor agricultural practices and years of continued drought caused the Dust Bowl. When the drought combined with the heat, the Earth dried and cracked. Then the winds came and took the grasslands with them. The farmers kept plowing away the grasslands, and when planting nothing would grow.
The reason was because the ground cover that held the soil in its place was gone. So when the windstorms hit they simply blew away the land. Farmers were impacted by the storm the most, because of the combination of drought and the Great Depression.
A period in American history called “The Great Depression” was a time of devastation and great chaos. Many of the farmers had to ask for help form the government, but even with this help them many still lost their farms. Because farmers faced so many problems with finance, banks and businesses also suffered.Farmers received little for the crops and animals they managed to produce. Many farmers slaughtered their cattle and swine because they could not feed them. Even though they tried to plant crops, the dust and storms just wouldn’t let them grow. They weren’t getting enough money to support their families. Many families packed their belongings, and moved westward, fleeing the dust and desert of the Midwest for Washington, Oregon, and California.
They were willing to work for any wage at all, planting and harvesting other people’s lands. That is how much they needed work.When those families reached the borders of those western states, they were not welcomed very well; too many people were already out of work due to the Great Depression. So California & other states didn’t have much to offer them. Many California farms were commercial owned, meaning they were larger and more modernized than what the farmers were used to, so farming was confusing for a lot of families but they were willing to learn. By 1940, 2.
5 million people had moved out of the Plains states toward the western states. Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s administration was the first to provide wide-scale drought relief.They did so through Roosevelt ’s New Deal programs, which were created to help people recover from the Great Depression. The drought relief programs of the New Deal included programs to: provide emergency supplies to farmers and ranchers; meet emergency medical needs; stabilize the agricultural market; and help agricultural producers establish good land management practices.
It’s hard to determine just how much the impacts of the 1930s drought cost, but the federal government probably spent about $1 billion on relief efforts by the time the droughts were over.Most of the money was spent to help people recover from the damage caused by drought, but Congress also put money into some new programs that were aimed at making the nation less vulnerable to the impacts of drought. It was the worst drought that has ever occurred in the United States. It was an ecological disaster. The Dust Bowl catastrophe is a valuable learning experience for farmers and ranchers alike because it demonstrates the dangers of the development of agriculture without proper knowledge.
In order for the problem to never arise again, farmers and ranchers must learn from the mistakes of the past.