Drought in Kansas in the First Half of the Twentieth Century

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1930 the start of one of Kansas's great struggles the Dust Bowl. A huge reason of this is the use of farming techniques that work on land not of Kansas. Another is the consecutive droughts that occured in succession. Finally you have the strong winds and lack of precipitation. But through the hard work of volunteers, farmers and the President Franklin D. Roosevelt we defeated the problem, or did we? In 1936 the Dust Bowl officially ended, our predecessors solved the problem of farming were they turned from irrigation farming to dry-farming. We planted trees to help stop the dust and keep the soil together. The only problem left is the drought.

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The Kansas drought has affected farmers all over Kansas especially the ones in western Kansas. The Dust Bowl consisted of four droughts 1930–31, 1934, 1936, and 1939–40. These droughts were so close together as well as rapid that there was no time to recover from the drought before. During the dust bowl there was a 40 billion dollar drought damage cost and in 2013 terms a 78.5 billion dollar drought damage cost. Now in the U.S. we are averaging about a 8-9 billion dollar crop loss due to drought.

In the beginning of a drought first farmers will have to start limiting how much water they can use on their crop. Then, streams start to slowly but surely dry up. After that, crops start to loose some of their original color due to lack of its usual water intake. Other noticeable sign of a drought is plants start do look brown and not its natural green. Once that starts to happen prices for crop grown in Kansas slowly start to rise. Another sign that drought has come is the livestock market prices will decrease due to so many cattle being sold off. In the beginning of a drought it will not affect the farmers that much. After about several months to a year goes by the drought really takes a hold of the livestock and crop market. Livestock are sold off just to make sure the farmer has enough money to feed the other animals. In the crop market prices from before will skyrocket making an inflation of prices due to the high demand of the limited good crop. Plants continue to die off due to lack of water as well as insects such as beetles coming in and eating away at the plants. Furthermore, a study has been conducted stating that shows 35% chance for a severe drought year in any decade, a 70% chance within a 20-year span, and a 100% chance over the estimated 40-year working lifetime of a western Kansas farmer. From this study it was also found that in terms of duration for western Kansas, they average two droughts a century spanning one decade or more.

In conclusion, from the start of the Dust Bowl to now we have progressed far but we are still being affect to this date. Still we as Kansans have kept strong and persevere through the toughness of the Dust Bowl as well as other droughts that faced us head on but didn't defeat us. In a quote from the Kansas's first president Dwight D. Eisenhower "Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you're a thousand miles from the corn field." What this says is people from places like New York can look at it and say ohh that's easy but what they don't understand is the troubles that the american farmer has to go through. So what is it going to take to make sure a drought doesn't happen?

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