PBS Video Dust bowl, not the same area exactly, but close and similar situation
Torrent - Part 1, Part 2
Calvin Crabill, Prowers County CO - "It's said that buffalo grass would hold the moisture, so that if you went down 12" you would find moist earth. And I remember us digging down, and the earth was moist down there. It was beautiful soil, it was beautiful soil.
This tangle of grass to hold moisture in.
"Beef bonanza", busts, homesteaders next, congress homesteads act brought mostly white europeans b/c no land there.
Not arid or wet, on the edge, very risky agriculture
"If it rained... if not next year."
railroad and real estate cut up land, wet years brought many,
"climate was increasing", "rain follows the plow", "removing the cover of prare grass allowed more water to penetrate the soil."
"wheat will win the war" 2$ a bushel, 2x the rate. Fell to ~23c eventually, then dustbowl
Plowed 2x the size of NJ from grassland to wheat lands, but only more plowing, "the great plow up"
"I remember running barefooted along in this ditch which was big clods of cool damp ground." -Imogene Glover Texas County OK
"The soil is the one indestructible immutable asset that the nation possesses. It is the one resource that can not be exhausted, that cannot be used up" -a federal agency
dusters and sand storms almost daily. Big ones up to 10,000 ft tall. '33,'34, color of dirt could show where it came from, sandstorms were abrasive, take paint off cars, blister your skin, dirt would get in every crack, some women committed suicide from cleaning every day,
farmers killed off all the coyotes so there was an explosion of rabbits. When the dust storms came the rabbits ate everything green.
Wind in the spring, droughts come, but this time real long drought
the movie theater in a town closed, but the people asked them to reopen it, they "needed" movies in the hard times
black blizzards, black sunday, many deaths
Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas,
[incorrectly claims] received less than 10" of rain in one year, the definition of a desert/
reused flour and wheat sacks for clothing. Manufacturers found out and started printing them with flowers.
Roosevelt, civilian conservation corp, put young men to work in national/state parks/forests, paid $30/mo, 25 had to go home to families, plant rows of trees great plains, windbreaks against dust storms, 18.600 miles of shelter-belt, 217 million trees planted 19:11
many people considered this make work, new deal, wpa,
wpa built dam built on rita blanca creek near dalhart Tx
union county NM, local materials only, 6 of 10k residents worked on a new high school that was in use 75 year later
1935 est 350 million tons topsoil blew away
"We Americans have been the greatest destroyers of land of any race or people, barbaric or civilized, Unless immediate steps are take to restore these sun-scorched, wind-eroded lands we shall have on our hands a new, man-made Sahara where formerly was rich grazing land." Hugh Bennet
top soil conservationist, called in:
Howard Finnell, soil scientist, running agricultural experiment station in goodwell Oklahoma, new techs, capture moisture, plow along contour and terraces to minimize runoff, use lister plow (deeper?),
~25% of the people moved away, most went to CA
Rothstein took pictures for the papers to get the country to care. [Jews steering the media, in 1936 - haha, they were right all along!] took the most iconic dust bowl picture, reprinted many times
[the whole film is very pro government. The gov is the only one that can save us attitude. No you just didn't understand the system well enough]
movies started coming out
Roosevelt saved us, "my dad was a republican but voted democrat from there on
cops intimidated Okies/vagrants coming into CA
after 6 years the independent farmers started asking for more extreme measures, marshal law was suggested, some started asking and getting permission to tend other peoples' land that was not tending it correctly. If they lived away and only came out on weekends, the suitcase farmer types.
Laws against letting your land blow. Very authoritarian change. One 1000 acre farm mis-tended could ruin all the neighbor's farms. Originally anti-state/gov
contour plowed land worked
grasshoppers came and they sprayed them with poison.
In the 40s the exact same process started, suitcase farmers, speculation
50s wet cycle ended, drought came again, but it was ok overall. Some farmers still used finnel's tech and the 4 million acres the gov purchased and set as grassland mitigated the drought.
Pumping an irrigation are what they used next on stuff like feed corn and require more moisture than wheat. Ogallala is about 100 ft deep on average. We have used over 50 feet. ~20 years of water left.
"sometime in the future they are going to look back at the 50s and 60s and curse us for draining the water to grow pig feed."
"once the water is gone, the land will go as well. The Sahara was a grassland thousands of years ago, no reason the middle of the USA can't be the same."
Caroline henderson put her land in trust "never to be plowed again"