Many factors led to the Dust Bowl. An increased demand for wheat during World War I, the development of new mechanized farm machinery along with falling wheat prices in the 1920s, led to millions of acres of native grassland being replaced by heavily disked fields of straight row crops. Four years of drought shriveled the crops and left the loose top soil to blown away in the wind.
- Using evidence from the photo, describe what you see. What were the effects of the Dust Bowl on farmers?
- Before the Dust Bowl, farmers plowed under native grasses that held down the soil to meet increased production demand. How could this have contributed to Dust Bowl conditions? What other factors might have also contributed to Dust Bowl conditions?
Lange, Dorothea, "Dust storm. It was conditions of this sort which forced many farmers to abandon the area. Spring 1935. New Mexico," April 1935. Courtesy of Library of Congress