I’m almost finished with the audio book, The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan, so I listened again today as I walked around my neighborhood.
In today’s reading, the Great Plains Drought Area Committee issued a report to the president in August, 1936. The findings were bad. Although the area suffered a severe drought in the 1930s, this area simply does not receive enough average rainfall to raise crops on a regular basis. It was not just a single act of nature that caused the dust storms. Instead, the storms were caused by:
- World War I demands for wheat
- over farming
- over grazing
- encouraging inappropriate, sustained agriculture
- tearing out the buffalo grass which held down the soil
Based on these findings, Hugh Bennett, the head of the Soil Erosion Service, had different types of grasses planted, hoping to find something that would take root. His plan to cover the plains again in grass would take time. Not wanting to wait and in spite of the warnings, President Franklin Roosevelt had another idea–to plant trees up and down the plains.
I don’t think this will end well.