The Dust Bowl was by far one of the most drastic events of the 1930’s and was responsible for destroying millions of acres of agriculture. As America suffered from the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl could not have came at a worse time. The Dust Bowl was a devastating blow to the American economy, which resulted in people leaving their farms to find work in town or move away.
Many children died from breathing in to much dust, referred to as “dust pneumonia”. But the leading question now is what caused the dust bowl? The Dust bowl could have been caused by lack of rainfall, not enough grass and large usage of soil and crops. One thing that might have lead to the Dust Bowl was lack of rain in the Southern Plains.
In (Document E), John Wesley Powell, a Western explorer, stated that 20 inches of rain annually is need for successful farming in the Plains. The data shows that in 1923 average rainfall was 33.40 inches but in a year (1924) that number drops by half to 15.32 inches of rain. From 1931-39, the normal amount of rainfall is about 15 to 10 inches. The evidence clearly shows that the land was not ideal for farming and was a factor that caused the Dust Bowl. Another effect was insufficient amounts of grass.
Buffalo grass was the most common type of grass in the region and only reached heights of about 4 inches. A Texas sheepherder said, “Grass is what counts, It’s what save us all – far as we get saved… Grass is what holds the earth together”(Document B). When the sheepherder says, “Grass is what counts”, this directly correlates with the dust storms because as farmers cut wheat they ripped grass right up with it (Document C). And I assume that the grass is what keeps the dirt from erratically blowing everywhere and keeps it in place.
So by wheat farmers ripping up grass to create wheat farms, it allowed strong winds to pick up dirt. Lastly, in 8 Great plain states harvested crops efficiency grew. In 1899, the amount of harvested crops was five million acres and in 1929 that amount doubled to 11 million(Document C). My prediction would be that with increase of crops increase in soil.