Posoda za prah

Posoda za prah


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Sredstva zagotavljajo Bank of America, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, National Endowment for Humanities, The Rockefeller Foundation, Wallace Genetic Foundation in člani… Več

Sredstva zagotavljajo Bank of America, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, National Endowment for Humanities, The Rockefeller Foundation, Wallace Genetic Foundation in člani The Better Angels Society, vključno z dobrodelnim skladom Dana A. Hamel Family in Robert in Beverly Grappone.


Posoda za prah - ZGODOVINA

Oklahoma je bila in je opredeljena kot "država posode za prah", čeprav je imela manj površin na območju, ki ga je služba za ohranjanje tal označila kot posodo za prah, kot sosednje zvezne države Kansas, Kolorado, Nova Mehika in Teksas. Zgodba o posodi za prah še vedno kroži po podobi Oklahome tako ostro kot prašne nevihte, ki so pihale skozi njen Panhandle.

Nedelja, 14. aprila 1935, se je v Guymonu v Oklahomi začela kot jasen dan. Temperatura je bila v zgornjih osemdesetih letih in občani so se v četrtem sušnem letu odpravili v Metodistično cerkev na "deževno službo". Občina je napolnila cerkev in dvignila molitve za božansko posredovanje za vlago, minister je dejal, da "dobri dež v treh tednih pomeni žetev, ki jo Bog vlada vsem, in naše zadnje sredstvo je molitev." Pozno popoldne je nebo zatemnilo, ne pa deževni oblaki. Namesto tega je Guymona prizadel najhujši od črnih viharjev.

Po vsej južni visoki ravnici so se temperature v nekaj urah znižale za več kot petdeset stopinj, saj je veter s hitrostjo sedemdeset kilometrov na uro pihal črno prst iz Kanade in severnih ravničarskih držav. Popolna tema je trajala štirideset minut, sledile pa so tri ure delne teme. Relativna vlažnost se je zmanjšala na manj kot 10 odstotkov. Ko se je država zavedla prašnih neviht, so novinarji, kot je pisatelj Associated Press Robert Geiger, v Guymonu pisali vrsto člankov. V objavi za Washington, DC, 15. aprila, Večerna zvezda zapisal je: "Tri male besede - boleče znane na jeziku zahodnega kmeta - danes vladajo življenju v posodi za prah celine. Če dežuje."

Geiger je prvič v tisku uporabil izraz "posoda za prah". V treh mesecih so "posodo za prah" uporabljali po vsej državi. Posebej se je skliceval na "zahodno tretjino Kansasa, jugovzhodni Kolorado, Oklahoma Panhandle, severne dve tretjini Texas Panhandle in severovzhodno Novo Mehiko." To območje je skoraj enako meji posode za prah, ki jo je urad za zaščito tal leta 1939 uradno označil za geografski obseg hude škode vetra do leta 1939.

Iz različnih razlogov je beseda "Oklahoma" hitro postala sinonim za izraz "posoda za prah". V resnici sta okrožja Texas in Cimarron v osrčju posode za prah utrpela najhujšo škodo, najhujše nevihte in najbolj dramatične nanose peska. Po naključju, ko je Geiger aprila 1935 prvič objavil izraz "posoda za prah" in ko so drugi novinarji poročali o "črni velikonočni" nevihti, so njihovi datelini zapisali "Guymon, Oklahoma." Ta geografska referenca je v javnosti močno utrdila povezavo Oklahoma – Dust Bowl.

Ko so se začele nevihte, je kantavtor Woody Guthrie živel v Pampi v Teksasu. Bil je domačin iz Okemaha v Oklahomi, a prašne nevihte so se zgodile daleč od njegovega domačega mesta Oklahoma. Njegovi posnetki iz leta 1940, vključno z "The Great Dust Storm", "Talking Dust Bowl Blues", "Dust Pneumonia Blues", "Dust Bowl Refugee" in "So Long, Been Good to Know You", izdani pod naslovom Dust Bowl Balade, ki ga je imenoval "Oklahoma's Dust Bowl Balladeer." Vendar so te pesmi dejansko črpale iz njegovih izkušenj v Texas Panhandleu v zgodnjih tridesetih letih.

Guthrie je napisala tudi pesmi o migrantih iz Dust Bowla in večina jih je dejansko prišla iz Oklahome, ne pa iz območja Panhandle – Dust Bowl. Primeri so "Tom Joad" in "Do-Re-Mi." Večinoma pridelovalci bombaža iz vzhodne in južne Oklahome, junaki migrantov iz Guthrie, so bili delničarji in kmetje najemniki, ki so zemljo izgnali z izboljšano mehanizirano kmetijsko opremo, izredno nizkimi cenami bombaža in veliko depresijo. Poleg tega, ker je program zmanjšanja pridelka New Deal lastnikom kmetij izplačal oranje pod njihovo zemljo, so delničarji in najemniki, ki so dejansko obdelovali zemljo, postali brezdomci in postali migranti.

Izreke in zgodbe o vremenu v Oklahomi, pa tudi pesmi Guthrie in roman Johna Steinbecka Grozdje jeze, pomagala ohraniti podobo Oklahoma's Dust Bowl. Nekatere bolj kritične izjave vključujejo "Oklahoma ima štiri sezone, pogosto v istem tednu." Krožile so zgodbe, da je bil prah tudi pri zaprtih vratih in oknih tako debel, da je močna žarnica "izgledala kot gori cigareta in roke nisi videl pred obrazom". Ena zgodba je trdila, da je moški avtomobil obstal ob pesku, ko je odprl vrata, in streljal nad zemljo, da bi zrakom priletel zemeljske veverice. Hitrost vetra je bila tako huda, da je en človek rekel: "Lahko pritrdiš verigo na ograjo ali drevo, in če ne piha naravnost, je to miren dan." Nekateri so rekli, da je bilo kmetom priporočljivo, da ne kolobarijo svojih pridelkov, saj bi to naredil veter. Ljudje so prašne nevihte imenovali "dež v Oklahomi". Ženske so dvignile ponve do ključavnice in pustile, da jih veter in pesek očistita. Tako dolgo je bilo suho, da se žabe niso mogle naučiti plavati in bi se utopile, ko bi jih dali v vodo. Nekateri so resnično povedali, da je "veter odnesel kmetijo, vendar nismo izgubili vsega - še vedno smo dobili hipoteko."

Druga vedenje o vremenskih razmerah je razglasilo, da je "človeku treba vnesti prah v obraz, da ga oživi, ​​potem ko je omedlel, ko mu je kaplja dežja udarila v obraz", in "veter je odnesel toliko zemlje, da so jame ostale nad zemljo, en kmet" povezal svojo ekipo in vagon, zbral poštne luknje in jih shranil v hlevu za prihodnjo uporabo. " To je le nekaj od številnih zlobnih izrekov in opisnih pretiravanj, ki so nastala iz obdobja Dust Bowl. Woody Guthrie je težave in življenje v posodi za prah povzel z besedami: "prah včasih postane tako debel, da lahko zapeljete traktor in plužite na glavo. vaša miza ali zadeva. Edina stvar, ki je višja od tega prahu, so vaši dolgovi. Prah se usede, dolgovi pa ne. "

Beseda, ki je postala sinonim za migrante, ki so na delo odpotovali na zahod, je bila "Okie". Po poročanju je Ben Reddick, novinar z Paso Robles Press v Kaliforniji so v migrantskih taboriščih videli številne "stare avtomobile z Oklahomskimi registrskimi tablicami, ki so pisali" V redu "." Na zadnji strani fotografije, ki prikazuje taborišča in avtomobile, je napisal besedo "Okies", ki je bila objavljena kot napis. Nato se je izraz razširil na delavce migrante. Will Rogers in drugi so včasih nekoliko zgovorno govorili, da je selitev Okiesa v Kalifornijo dvignila intelektualno raven obeh držav. V mnogih zahodnih državah se Okie še vedno uporablja kot slabšalni izraz, kljub številnim poskusom Oklahomansa, da ga spremeni v komplementaren izraz. Vendar pa tisti, ki živijo tukaj, na splošno menijo, da so "Oklahomani", ne "Okies". Medtem ko je bil "Okie" uporabljen pred udarci neviht, je postal eden od tradicionalnih elementov, povezanih z dobo prašne posode. Na žalost, ne glede na to, koliko raziskav in ne glede na to, koliko knjig in člankov je napisanih o Dust Bowlu, ostaja Oklahoma v glavah mnogih kot "država prašne posode".

Bibliografija

James N. Gregory, American Exodus: Migracija posode za prah in kultura Okie v Kaliforniji (Ponatis 1989, New York: Oxford University Press, 1991).

Woody Guthrie, Vezano za slavo (New York: E. P. Dutton in Co., 1943).

Caroline Henderson, Pisma iz posode za prah, ur. Alvin O. Turner (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2001).

Kenneth E. Hendrickson, Jr., ur., Težki časi v Oklahomi: leta depresije (Oklahoma City: Oklahoma Historical Society, 1983).

Guy Logsdon, Posoda za prah in migrant (Tulsa, Okla .: Inštitut ameriške zgodovine in umetnosti Thomas Gilcrease, 1971).

Donald Worster, Posoda za prah: Južne ravnice v tridesetih letih prejšnjega stoletja (New York: Oxford University Press, 1979).

Noben del tega spletnega mesta se ne sme razlagati kot javno dostopen.

Avtorske pravice za vse članke in drugo vsebino v spletni in tiskani različici Enciklopedija zgodovine Oklahome je v lasti Oklahoma Historical Society (OHS). To vključuje posamezne članke (avtorske pravice za OHS z dodelitvijo avtorja) in korporativno (kot celoto), vključno s spletnim oblikovanjem, grafiko, funkcijami iskanja in načini navedbe/brskanja. Avtorske pravice za vse te materiale so zaščitene v skladu z ameriškim in mednarodnim pravom.

Uporabniki se strinjajo, da brez dovoljenja zgodovinskega društva Oklahoma ne bodo prenašali, kopirali, spreminjali, prodajali, dajali v najem, dajali v najem, ponatisnili ali kako drugače distribuirali teh materialov ali se na njih povezovali na drugi spletni strani. Posamezni uporabniki se morajo odločiti, ali njihova uporaba materialov spada v smernice zakona Združenih držav o avtorskih pravicah & quotFair Use & quot in ne krši lastniških pravic Oklahoma Historical Society kot zakonitega imetnika avtorskih pravic Enciklopedija zgodovine Oklahome in delno ali v celoti.

Foto: Vse fotografije, predstavljene v objavljeni in spletni različici Enciklopedija zgodovine in kulture Oklahome so last Zgodovinskega društva Oklahoma (razen če ni drugače navedeno).

Citiranje

Naslednje (v skladu s Čikaški priročnik za slog, 17. izdaja) je najprimernejša navedba za članke:
Guy Logsdon, & ldquoDust Bowl Lore & rdquo Enciklopedija zgodovine in kulture Oklahome, https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry.php?entry=DU012.

© Zgodovinsko društvo Oklahoma.

Zgodovinsko društvo Oklahoma | 800 Nazih Zuhdi Drive, Oklahoma City, OK 73105 | 405-521-2491
Kazalo spletnega mesta | Pišite nam | Zasebnost | Novinarska soba | Poizvedbe na spletnem mestu


Posoda za prah - ZGODOVINA

Posoda za prah je dobila ime po črni nedelji, 14. aprila 1935. V preteklih letih do tega dne je pihalo vedno več prašnih neviht. Leta 1932 so na ravnicah zabeležili 14 prašnih neviht. Leta 1933 je bilo 38 neviht. Do leta 1934 je bilo ocenjeno, da je 100 milijonov hektarjev kmetijskih zemljišč zaradi vetra izgubilo celotno površino tal ali večino. Do aprila 1935 je bilo nekaj tednov prašnih neviht, a oblak, ki se je na obzorju pojavil tiste nedelje, je bil najhujši. Pihali so vetrovi s hitrostjo 60 km / h. Potem je zadelo.

"Vpliv je kot lopata drobnega peska, ki je padla ob obraz," je zapisal Avis D. Carlson v članku New Republic. "Ljudje, ujeti na lastnem dvorišču, iščejo prag. Avtomobili se ustavijo, saj nobena svetloba na svetu ne more prodreti v to vrtinčasto mutno. Živimo s prahom, ga pojemo, spimo z njim, gledamo, kako nam odvzemajo imetje in upanje na imetje. Postaja resnično. "

Dan po črni nedelji je poročevalec Associated Pressa prvič uporabil izraz "Dust Bowl". "Tri male besede, ki so boleče znane na jeziku zahodnega kmeta, vladajo življenju v posodi za prah celine in#150, če dežuje." Izraz se je zataknil in so ga radijski poročevalci in pisci uporabljali v zasebnih pismih in javnih govorih.

Na osrednjih in severnih ravnicah je bil povsod prah.

Herman Goertzen se spominja, da bodo piščanci sredi dneva gnezdili, ker je zaradi nevihte tako temno, da so piščanci mislili, da je noč.
LeRoy Hankel se spominja, da je veter pihal tako močno, da je tovornjak pihal 30 do 40 čevljev po ulici.
Elroy Hoffman se spominja vetrov, ki pihajo semena iz zemlje.
Stan Jensen se spominja, kako je bilo nemogoče vzdrževati hiše čiste.
Walter Schmitt se spominja, kako so vetrovi ruševine premetavali v ograje. Nato se je prah odnesel navzgor, zakrivši ograje.
Harvey Pickrel je skušal kupiti traktor in edini trik je bil, da ga bo moral izkopati iz prahu, preden ga bo lahko odnesel domov.

Vpliv posode za prah je bil po vsej ZDA čutiti istega aprila, ko je bila črna nedelja 1935, je bil eden od svetovalcev FDR, Hugh Hammond Bennett, v Washingtonu, na poti, da bi pred Kongresom pričal o potrebi po zakonodaji o ohranjanju tal. Nevihta s prahom je prispela v Washington vse do Velike ravnice. Ko se je prašna mračnost razširila po glavnem mestu države in obrisala sonce, je Bennett pojasnil: "O tem sem govoril, gospodje." Istega leta je kongres sprejel zakon o ohranjanju tal.

Avtor Bill Ganzel iz skupine Ganzel. Prvič napisano in objavljeno leta 2003.


Posoda za prah

Suša za kmete v zahodnem Kansasu ni bila nič novega. Ker so se njihovi očeti in dedki tam naselili v osemdesetih letih prejšnjega stoletja, je prišlo do sušnih obdobij, prepletenih s časi dovolj padavin. Toda suša, ki se je leta 1931 spustila na osrednje ravnice, je bila hujša, kot se je večina spomnila.

Številni dejavniki so privedli do posode za prah. Povečano povpraševanje po pšenici med prvo svetovno vojno, razvoj novih mehaniziranih kmetijskih strojev skupaj z znižanjem cen pšenice v dvajsetih letih prejšnjega stoletja je privedlo do tega, da so milijone hektarjev avtohtonih travnikov nadomestili močno diskirana polja ravnih vrst. Štiri leta suše so posejale pridelke in ohlapno zgornjo zemljo prepustile na milost in nemilost vedno prisotnim vetrovom.

V nedeljo, 14. aprila 1935, imenovano Črna nedelja, se je velika fronta premaknila čez Velike ravnice s severozahoda. Z rahlim vetrom 60 milj na uro so ohlapno zgornjo plast zemlje pograbili in nasuli v oblake prahu, visoke sto metrov visoko. Ljudje so hiteli domov, kajti ujeti zunaj bi lahko pomenil zadušitev in smrt. Prah in tema sta ustavila vse oblike prevoza, droben mulj, ki je presejal vsako razpoko ali sklep, pa je prisilil zaprtje bolnišnic, mlinov za moko, šol in podjetij.

Nekateri so se srečali s to neverjetno stisko in so obupali. Drugi so ostali, živeli od upanja, humorja in trme. Kmetje so prisluhnili nasvetom ameriške službe za ohranjanje tal in začeli z odstranjevanjem in obrisom, obnavljali pašnike in zasadili stotine kilometrov vetrov. S skupnimi močmi in ugodnimi vremenskimi razmerami je dežela znova zacvetela kot žitnica naroda.

Fotografije in drugi predmeti, povezani z nevihtami, so na voljo v spominu Kansas.

Vnos: Posoda za prah

Avtor: Zgodovinsko društvo Kansas

Podatki o avtorju: Zgodovinsko društvo Kansas je državna agencija, zadolžena za aktivno varovanje in izmenjavo zgodovine države.

Datum ustvarjanja: Junija 2003

Datum spremembe: Marec 2016

Avtor tega članka je izključno odgovoren za njegovo vsebino.

Predloži Kansapedija vsebino

Vabimo vas, da pošljete dodatne podrobnosti o obstoječih člankih ali predložite članke o drugih temah v zgodovini Kansasa.

Kansas spomin

Naše spletne zbirke vsebujejo več kot 500.000 slik fotografij, dokumentov in artefaktov, ki se dnevno povečujejo. Poiščite svojo zgodbo v Kansasu s tem bogatim virom!


20 tragičnih fotografij iz Amerike in posode za prah#8217 v tridesetih letih prejšnjega stoletja

Posoda za prah je bila serija hudih prašnih neviht, ki so prizadele 100.000.000 hektarjev ameriške prerije zaradi suše in slabe kmetijske tehnike. Suša je na Srednjem zahodu pestila od leta 1934 do 1940. Kmetje so za sajenje pridelkov odstranili globoko ukoreninjene trave, ki so tla ohranjala vlažna v obdobjih majhnega dežja in močnega vetra. Dehidracijo tal so poslabšale bolj trpežne kmetijske tehnike iz novo razvitih mehaniziranih kmetijskih strojev, kot sta traktor in kombajn.

Zvezna vlada je spodbujala naseljevanje in razvoj Srednjega zahoda. Zakon o domačiji iz leta 1862, zakon o Kinkaidu iz leta 1904 in zakon o razširjeni domačiji iz leta 1909 so naseljencem, ki so se želeli preseliti na Velike ravnice, ponudili velike dele zemlje. Po nenavadno mokri in plodni sezoni v dvajsetih letih prejšnjega stoletja so vlada in podnebni znanstveniki razširili teorijo, da & acirc € ˜rain sledi plugu & rsquo, da bi pospešil migracijo proti zahodu. Ta teorija pravi, da človeško bivališče in razvoj kmetijstva trajno spreminjata podnebje v sušnih regijah, zaradi česar so bolj vlažna.

Med sušo je izpostavljena preorana zemlja odpihnila v ogromnih oblakih prahu, imenovanih & acirc € ˜crna mećava & rsquo ali & acirc € ˜crna valja & rsquo. 9. maja 1934 je bila nevihta tako huda, da je v Chicagu odlagalo 12 milijonov funtov prahu. Črni viharji bi zmanjšali vidljivost na manj kot 3 čevlje, nevihte pa bi lahko včasih poslale oblake prahu celo vzhodno od Washingtona DC in New Yorka. Pozimi 1934-1935 je bil sneg v Novi Angliji rdeč.

Družine po preriji so bile razseljene zaradi suše in nevihte. Med letoma 1930 in 1940 se je iz zveznih držav odselilo 3,5 milijona ljudi, večina jih je odšla v Kalifornijo.

Posoda za prah. Dallas, Južna Dakota 1936. Wikimedia 3 Oblaki prahu se umikajo, Dodge City, 1933, SC. Pinterest Črni valjar se približuje majhnim kmečkim hišam. PBS Utrujena migrantska družina na poti v Kalifornijo. ebaumsworld Naslov: Kmet v posodi za prah, ki vozi s traktorjem z mladim sinom v bližini Clanda v Novi Mehiki. Doroteja Lange Fotografija nevihtne nevihte v Tyronu, Okla., Posneta 14. aprila 1935. Posoda za prah iz tridesetih let prejšnjega stoletja je v Kalifornijo poslala več kot milijon prebivalcev tega območja. Pinterest Avto, ki ga je zakopala nevihta. Muzej avtomobilov Gilmore Približno 1935: Tri dekleta, ki modelirajo različne maske za prah, ki jih je treba nositi na območjih, kjer količina prahu v zraku povzroča težave z dihanjem. Getty Images 1940 migrantska družina, ki je pobegnila iz posode za prah. History.com Družina migrantov, ki hodi proti Kaliforniji. Pinterest


‘Pluga na deželi ’: Prizori iz ameriške posode za prah, 1954

Grozeča nevihta se je dvignila nad kmetijo v bližini Hartmana v Kolomaniji. Ko je bila nekoč območje območij, jo je pridelava pšenice skoraj uničila.

Margaret Bourke-White/Life Pictures/Shutterstock

Pojav, imenovan Dust Bowl, je bil groza sredine prejšnjega stoletja in je bil posledica uničujoče mešanice brutalnega vremena in neinformiranih kmetijskih praks, zaradi katerih so bila kmetijska zemljišča ranljiva.

Tukaj se LIFE.com ozre nazaj skozi objektiv velike Margaret Bourke-White, v obdobju, ko je LIFE to zapisalo v izdaji maja 1954, prišlo do “Dusty Plague Upon the Land. ”

Občutljiv, smrtonosni prah se je v rjavi megli razpršil po horizontu prerije. Po vsej Koloradu, Kansasu, Oklahomi, Teksasu in Novi Mehiki so se temnejši vrtinčki razrahljane zgornje plasti zemlje prežvečili po ravnicah in uničili ali poškodovali 16 milijonov hektarjev zemlje. Človek se je boril s takšnimi tehnikami, kot je dleto. . . . zabiti plug šest centimetrov v zemljo, da bi iz njega nastali strdki umazanije, ki bi lahko pomagali zadržati dragoceno zemljo pred zlobnimi vetrovi. Proti prašni plimi so ti slabi napori prišli premalo in prepozno. Dve desetletji po najhujšem sušnem letu v zgodovini, 1934, je vlada ZDA uradno označila južne ravnice z dvema znanima besedama “Doo Bowl. ”

Grozeča nevihta se je dvignila nad kmetijo v bližini Hartmana v Kolomaniji. Ko je bila nekoč območje območij, jo je pridelava pšenice skoraj uničila.

Margaret Bourke-White/Life Pictures/Shutterstock

Kmet je z dvema traktorjema (zgoraj desno) po kmetiji v bližini Walsha, Colo., Razširil zaščitni vzorec.

Margaret Bourke-White/Life Pictures/Shutterstock

Kmečka družina v Koloradu med posodo za prah leta 1954.

Margaret Bourke-White/Life Pictures/Shutterstock

Protiprašni ukrep brazdanja zemlje, ki ga je sprejel naravovarstveni kmet v okrožju Baca, se je izničil, ko je sosedova neobraznjena zemlja razstrelila njegovo kmetijo in ubila pridelek ozime pšenice.

Margaret Bourke-White/Life Pictures/Shutterstock

Namakalni jarek v bližini Amityja je bil očiščen prahu, ki ga je napolnil 20 milj do globine šest čevljev.

Margaret Bourke-White/Life Pictures/Shutterstock

Koloradska posoda za prah, 1954.

Margaret Bourke-White/Life Pictures/Shutterstock

Koloradska posoda za prah, 1954.

Margaret Bourke-White/Life Pictures/Shutterstock

Koloradska posoda za prah, 1954.

Margaret Bourke-White/Life Pictures/Shutterstock

Koloradska posoda za prah, 1954.

Margaret Bourke-White/Life Pictures/Shutterstock

Koloradska posoda za prah, 1954.

Margaret Bourke-White/Life Pictures/Shutterstock

Koloradska posoda za prah, 1954.

Margaret Bourke-White/Life Pictures/Shutterstock

Coloradans Art Blooding in njegova družina sta pri 50 miljah na uro pregledali svojo novo kupljeno kmetijo.

Margaret Bourke-White/Life Pictures/Shutterstock

Koloradska posoda za prah, 1954.

Margaret Bourke-White/Life Pictures/Shutterstock

Divje race, ki so se zadušile v prahu, so naredile pokopališče, kar je nekoč ustavilo zalivanje njihovih spomladanskih selitev.

Margaret Bourke-White/Life Pictures/Shutterstock

Posekana metla je ležala v bližini Walsha, nekoč ‘Broomcorn Capital of U.S. ’

Margaret Bourke-White/Life Pictures/Shutterstock

Koloradska posoda za prah, 1954.

Margaret Bourke-White/Life Pictures/Shutterstock

Kmetijsko hišo je poškodovala nevihta, Kolorado, 1954.

Margaret Bourke-White/Life Pictures/Shutterstock

Koloradska posoda za prah, 1954.

Margaret Bourke-White/Life Pictures/Shutterstock

Koloradska posoda za prah, 1954.

Margaret Bourke-White/Life Pictures/Shutterstock

Koloradska posoda za prah, 1954.

Margaret Bourke-White/Life Pictures/Shutterstock

Kmečka družina v Koloradu med posodo za prah leta 1954.

Margaret Bourke-White/Life Pictures/Shutterstock


Služba za ohranjanje tal na velikih ravnicah

Ponatisnjeno iz Kmetijska zgodovina 64 (pomlad 1990): 58-73.

Hugh Hammond Bennett se je v začetku aprila 1935 znašel na robu doseganja ambicij, ki so leta prevladovale v njegovem poklicnem življenju, ustanovitve stalne agencije, namenjene ohranjanju tal. Res je, da je njegova začasna služba za erozijo tal v Ministrstvu za notranje zadeve prejela nekaj denarja, ki ga je Kongres namenil za vrnitev ljudi na delo v času depresije, kar mu je dalo priložnost, da nekatere svoje zamisli o ohranjanju tal uporabi za predstavitvene projekte po vsem svetu. država. Toda to nikoli ni bil končni cilj, ki ga je že od začetka hrepenel po nečem, kar bi preživelo depresijo in napadlo erozijo tal, dokler ni odpravljeno kot nacionalni problem. 1 Prijatelji gibanja za ohranjanje tal so v kongres vložili račune za ustanovitev posebne agencije za ta namen. Ko je Bennett sedel pred senatskim odborom za javna zemljišča, je moral predstaviti prepričljiv primer. Nebo je potemnilo, ko je prišel prah z ravnic. Prihod oblaka prahu je bil ugoden, vendar ne povsem nepričakovan-vsaj ne za glavno pričo. Senatorji so zaslišanje za trenutek prekinili in se preselili k oknom poslovne stavbe senata. Bolj kot besede ali statistika ali fotografije je upadanje dnevne svetlobe pokazalo Bennettovo trditev, da je ohranjanje tal javna odgovornost, vredna podpore in stalne zavezanosti reševanju enega od stalnih problemov podeželske Amerike. Bennett se je spomnil, da je "potem je šlo vse lepo." 2

Na začetku, kot se bo pogosto dogajalo v prihodnosti, se je zdelo, da so Velike ravnice v središču razvoja politike ohranjanja tal. Verjetno bi bil zakon o ohranjanju tal v vsakem primeru sprejet. Križarska gorečnost Bennetta se je približala priložnosti, ki jo je depresija ponudila za začetek dela, vendar so razmere na Velikih ravnicah dale zadnji zagon zakonodaji. Depresija je narod prebudila zaradi medsebojno povezanih težav revščine in slabe rabe zemljišč. Javnost je nekaj teh trpljenj na jugu opazila na fotografijah uprave za varnost kmetije in tistih v Walkerju Evansu in Jamesu Ageesu, pohvalimo slavne moške, ki so pripovedovali zgodbo o revni zemlji, revnih ljudeh, zapletenih zaradi najemništva in rasizma . Toda velike ravnice so pritegnile nacionalno pozornost. Časopisni prikazi prašnih neviht, dokumentarna klasika, ki jo sponzorira vlada, Plug, ki je zlomil ravnice, in roman Johna Steinbecka, Grozdje jeze, so vzbudili močne podobe. Za Američane je Dust Bowl postavil podobo človeškega stanja, ki ga je zapletel problem erozije tal. Ostaja močan zgodovinski kamen temeljac za ideje javnosti o eroziji tal. Lahko zbiramo podatke, analiziramo in se prepiramo, tako kot glede relativne resnosti erozije tal v naših najbolj produktivnih kmetijskih regijah, kot je koruzni pas ali pšenično območje v Palouseu. Občasno se v časopisih pojavijo zgodbe o slanosti na namakani zemlji. Toda nobena od teh situacij ni primerljiva z neizogibnim vprašanjem, ki spremlja vsako dolgotrajno sušo na Velikih ravnicah: Ali se vrne & quotDust Bowl & quot;

Posoda za prah se je izkazala tudi za najbolj priljubljeno območje v ZDA za zgodovinarje, ki preučujejo erozijo tal. V zadnjem desetletju so zgodovinarji izdali tri knjige o posodi za prah-tisti del ravnic, ki zajema zahodni Kansas, jugovzhodni Kolorado, severovzhodno Novo Mehiko in pokrove Oklahome in Teksasa. Če pšenica in trava včasih posušijo na ravnicah, se zdi, da zgodovinska interpretacija uspeva tam, kjer sta usodi človeka in zemlje tako prepleteni in podvrženi nihanjem podnebja. Če na kratko povzamemo teme, je Donald Worster v posodi za prah: Južne nižine v tridesetih letih prejšnjega stoletja ugotovil, da je posoda za prah posledica družbenega sistema in gospodarskega reda, kapitalizma, ki moti okolje, in bo tako deloval vse do sistema se spremeni. 3 Za Paula Bonnifielda v posodi za prah: Moški, umazanija in depresija so se kmetje na ravnicah uspešno borili ne le proti suši in depresiji, temveč tudi proti prevelikemu vladnemu idealizmu, katerega najbolj grozeča manifestacija je bilo območje ohranjanja tal s svojim potencialom, da postane ravničarji & quottenant kmetje za prikritega in oddaljenega odsotnega najemodajalca. & quot 4 R. Douglas Hurt v The Dust Bowl: Kmetijska in družbena zgodovina je verjela, da so se kmetje na splošno učili iz prašne posode in prilagodili svojo kmetijsko prakso, tako da se je, ko se je suša vrnila v petdesetih letih tudi vetrna erozija, ne pa tudi črni viharji. & quot 5 Ti zvezki podrobno opisujejo številne posebne kmetijske prakse, ki jih je služba za ohranjanje tal zagovarjala na Velikih nižinah. V tem članku se bom osredotočil na nekatere kasnejše dogodke od posode za prah. Nazadnje, kljub temu, da bi me označili za geografskega determinista, želim povedati nekaj o tem, kako so Velike ravnice vplivale na nacionalne programe in politike ohranjanja tal.

Ustanovitev službe za ohranjanje tal je ustvarila prostor za zbiranje vseh informacij o najboljših metodah kmetovanja, vendar varno kmetovanje v skladu z zmožnostmi zemlje. Služba za ohranjanje tal je sprva delovala s predstavitvenimi projekti in taborišči Civilnega konservatorskega korpusa. Predsednik Franklin Roosevelt je leta 1937 države spodbudil k sprejetju standardnega zakona o ohranjanju tal. Nato bi lahko ameriško ministrstvo za kmetijstvo podpisalo pogodbo o sodelovanju z okrožjem. Velik del prispevkov SCS v okrožja je zagotavljanje osebja v okrožju. Na ta način je agencija, ki se osredotoča na ohranjanje, ugotovila prisotnost na podeželju, ki je neposredno sodelovala s kmeti in kmetovalci v razmerju, ki je imelo dva srečna rezultata. Prvič, vse discipline so sodelovale pri reševanju skupnih problemov. Tako je pri predstavitvenih projektih združil inženirje, agronome in strokovnjake za vodenje poligona. Skupaj bi morali delati na skupnih težavah, namesto da bi se osredotočali le na lastno disciplino. Drugič, služba za ohranjanje tal je zagotovila sredstvo za delo na tem, kar danes imenujemo prenos tehnologije z obeh koncev spektra. To se je zdelo še posebej primerno na ravnicah, kjer so se kmetje borili z vetrno erozijo in so razvili številne metode za boj proti njej. Državne kmetijske poskusne postaje in kasneje postaje USDA, specializirane za erozijo tal, so dale odgovore. Ko je SCS začel delovati, je bilo že nekaj idej o odgovorih. Za zagotovitev vegetativnega pokrivanja se je SCS zavzemal za ohranjanje vode s pomočjo zadrževanja, preusmerjanja in širjenja vode ter s konturno obdelavo polj in konturnih brazd na pašniku. Vegetativni trakovi pri striženju in obrobe trave, pridelkov, grmovnic ali dreves so služili kot vetrne ovire. Mladi ohranitelji tal so spodbujali tudi prilagajanje pridelkov in kulturnih praks, da se prilagodijo različnim topografskim razmeram, tlom, vlagi in sezonskim razmeram. Organske ostanke je treba uporabiti za povečanje organske vsebnosti, prav tako pa jih je treba hraniti na površini, tako kot pri mulčenju strnišč, da preprečimo erozijo vetra. Kritično erodirano zemljo je treba vrniti v trajno vegetativno pokritost. Pašnike bi lahko izboljšali z dobrim upravljanjem pašnikov z distribucijo, kroženjem in odložitvijo paše. Verjetno najbolj daljnosežno priporočilo je bilo, da kmetje preidejo z obsežnega gojenja gozdnih posevkov, zlasti pšenice, na uravnoteženo živino in kmetovanje, ali pa preidejo na živino in samo na krmljenje živine. 6 Čeprav se je tehnologija skozi leta spreminjala, ti bistveni elementi še vedno vodijo program ohranjanja tal.

Če pogledamo nazaj, se zdi napredek pri večji uporabi pašnikov v okviru svojih zmožnosti eden bolj očitnih dosežkov od tridesetih let prejšnjega stoletja. Po večini mer se je stanje pašnikov na Velikih ravnicah in drugod izboljšalo od tridesetih let prejšnjega stoletja. Predgovor Henryja Wallacea k poročilu Western Range leta 1936 je napovedal, da bo trajalo petdeset let, da se območje povrne v stanje, ki bo podpiralo 17,3 milijona živinskih enot. Ta cilj je bil dosežen sredi sedemdesetih let. Druge ocene službe za ohranjanje tal v zadnjih dvajsetih letih kažejo na izboljšanje pogojev na pašnikih. 7

Težko bi bilo odgovornost za to pripisati posebnim agencijam, pa naj bodo zvezne ali državne. Tudi danes SCS sodeluje s približno polovico rejcev na Velikih ravnicah, čeprav so številni tisti, ki ne sodelujejo, krajši kmetje z drugimi viri dohodka. Jasno je vse večje spoštovanje načel ravnanja z živinorejo. To je dokončen premik od stališča zgodnjega dvajsetega stoletja, ko je bil koncept, da se lahko pašnike pase preveč intenzivno, anatemiral za mnoge govedoreje. Polemike glede intenzivnosti paše so bile takšne, da je kmetijski minister James Wilson leta 1901 o rokopisu biltena USDA na to temo zapisal: & quot; vse je preveč res, vendar ni najbolje, da se zdaj postavimo. & Quot 8 Kmalu po prašnih nevihtah v 1935, vodja sodelavca SCS Walter C. Lowdermilk se je nagovarjal proti skupini govedarjev v ravnicah, da bi jih končal, ko je omenil grozljiv izraz & quotovergrazing & quot 9

Od tega odnosa do splošnega sprejemanja upravljanja območij, ki je v interesu zemljišča in rančarja, je bilo kar precej potovanja. Za razvoj se je zdelo več elementov. Ljudje SCS, ki delajo z lokalnimi območji za ohranjanje tal in rančerji, so jih morali prepričati, da je upravljanje z njimi v njihovem interesu. Ljudje na terenu večinoma delajo z lastniki in posledično v manj kontradiktornem podnebju kot specialisti gozdnih služb in ministrstva za notranje zadeve, ki so morali poskušati izboljšati razmere z uvedbo staležev in pristojbin za pašo na zveznih deželah . Ker so vedeli, da je pred nami izobraževalno delo, so morali strokovnjaki za strelišča razviti sistem za spodbujanje upravljanja strelišč, ki je bil razumljiv tako terenskim tehnikom SCS kot tudi rančarjem. That necessity took what had generally been regarded as a research activity into the farm and ranch setting. The key for ranchers in wisely using rangeland was to know the condition of the range, so as to know when and how much it might be grazed without further deterioration. Thus, SCS needed to develop a system of range condition classification, based on scientific principles, that field staff of SCS and ranchers could understand and use.

Early range management pioneers recognized that the composition of the range changed with heavy grazing as cattle selected the taller, more palatable grasses, leaving the shorter, less palatable ones. 10 Following thirteen years of research on National Forest rangelands in the West, Arthur W. Sampson elaborated on this concept and observed that the surest way to detect overgrazing was by observing succession, or the "replacement of one type of plant by another." Furthermore, the grazing value of rangelands was highest where "the cover represents a stage in close proximity to the herbaceous climax and lowest in the type most remote from the climax." 11 Sampson's research prefaced the application of Frederic Clement's ideas about plant communities to practical range problems. A pioneer in prairie ecology, Clement theorized that grasslands were a community of plants in various stages of plant succession progressing toward a climax stage.

Range management experts in the Soil Conservation Service needed a classification system that could be used in the field in working with ranchers. Most range management systems in the 1930s and 1940s recognized the validity of ecological concepts for range management. The distinctiveness of the SCS system was that it would be a quantitative system that applied ecological concepts to range classification and management. Other systems were judged to be too qualitative for practical application in the field. The idea was to develop floristic guides of plant population for the various range condition classes. For instance, as rangeland is grazed by animals certain plants will show an increase in the percentage of cover under heavy grazing others will decrease, and in other cases heavy grazing leads to an invasion of plants onto the site. Thus, SCS field staff learned to inventory rangeland for particular "decreasers, increasers, and invaders" in determining whether the range condition fell into one of four categories--poor, fair, good, or excellent.

So as not to make too general a recommendation that would be of limited value, SCS added the concept of "range site" to the study of range management and improved range management practices. Foresters had originally developed the concept of site as an ecological or management entity based on plant communities. 12 Soil type, landscape position, and climate factors would be involved in determining the climax vegetation and should be taken into account when making recommendations for using rangeland following general instructions the local SCS soil conservationists had to delineate range sites in their soil conservation district. Field staff could then work with ranchers to develop a conservation plan that included advice on how best to use the land for grazing and at the same time maintain or improve range condition. In working with farmers SCS tried to ensure that ranchers understood the key plants and their response to light or heavy grazing and deferment. Overall the system was not supposed to focus solely on those plants that benefited cattle most. In concept it adhered to the suggestion of Clement that "There can be no doubt that the community is a more reliable indicator than any single species of it." 13 Advice to farmers might also include information on fencing, development of water supplies, and rotation grazing as range management theories changed over the years. But the reliance on range site and condition as the foundation has persisted to the present.

The range management experience illustrated two important points about the desirability of an interdisciplinary approach to problems and the need to link scientific theory to practical application. Because of its large field staff, SCS was able to test its ideas about using ecological quantification for range classification at numerous sites in the Great Plains. Isolated researchers have no such means for testing theory and classification in practice. The other point involves the emphasis on soil in range classification. Certainly the early ecologists emphasized soil as a part of the biotic environment. Nonetheless, it is quite likely that having both soil scientists and range managers in the same agency led to greater recognition of the importance of soil in site identification than might have been the case otherwise. Range management was but one of the cases in which the so-called action agencies such as SCS had to translate the scientific into the practical. In so doing it removed the prejudice often held toward what was considered strictly research or theoretical musings. The ecological emphasis and the recognition of the other values of rangeland for wildlife and water, not just the forage produced, seem to have increased the popularity of range management with ranchers.

Cultural practices, especially tillage methods, that reduced wind erosion found favor with farmers. Subsurface tillage, or stubble-mulch farming, eliminated weeds that depleted moisture during the summer fallow period while at the same time leaving wheat stubble on the surface to control wind erosion. Farmers employed the rotary rod weeder, or the large V-shaped Noble blade, or smaller sweeps in this work. Developments in planting and tillage equipment and in herbicides have added a whole array of planting and cultural methods that leave crop residues on the surface as well as increasing the organic content of the topsoil. These practices, such as no-till, ridge-till, strip-till, mulch-till, and reduced tillage fall under the general rubric "conservation tillage." The Conservation Technology Information Center, which promotes conservation tillage, estimated in 1988 that 23 percent of the acreage in the southern plains and 32 percent of acreage in the northern plains was planted with conservation tillage. 14 Larger farm equipment can have some adverse effects on conservation, but the powerful tractors make for timely emergency tillage operations to bring moist soil to the surface to control wind erosion.

SCS's work in the Great Plains always emphasized retiring the most erodible soils to grass. Thus they worked on introducing grass and devising planting methods for the range. The land utilization projects provided a means to test some of these methods. But some plains farmers and absentee owners have continued to use erodible soils for cropland that would be better suited to rangeland or pasture. Nonetheless, as farmers have learned about their land through the hazards of erosion or poor crop production potential, or perhaps through the teachings of the Soil Conservation Service, there have been some adjustments from the homesteading days or the World War I era of wheat expansion. The system of land capability classification developed by the Soil Conservation Service in the late 1930s and recent surveys of land use provided some clues to this shift. In making recommendations to farmers, SCS learned to classify land. In class I are soils with few limitations that restrict use, class II soils require moderate conservation practices, class III soils require special conservation practices, and class IV soils have very severe limitations that require very careful management. Soils in class V and VI are not suited to common cultivated crops. The system takes into account several limitations on use. Where the major limitation is susceptibility to erosion, the subclass designation "e" is used. Generally less than 20 percent of the land in the worst classes, VIIIe and VIe is currently used for cropland, and less than half of the IVe land is used for cropland. 15 So there have been some adjustments.

Wind erosion is still a problem on the plains. While dust storms are not common generally, several years of drought, such as occurred recently can still set the stage for dust storms such as the one that occurred in Kansas on March 14, 1989. 16 The 1988-1989 wind erosion season was the worst since 1954-1955 when SCS started keeping records. 17 Nonetheless, one can perceive the cumulative effects of conservation practices that break up the flat, pulverized landscape and thus prevent dust storms from gathering force uninterrupted. Chief among them seem to be leaving crop residues on the surface, higher organic content of the soil, wind stripcropping, field windbreaks, and interspersed grasslands. The Conservation Reserve Program, authorized in the 1985 farm bill, that pays farmers to keep highly erodible land in grass has proven most popular in the Great Plains. This is not surprising, because the plains influenced it as they did so many other conservation programs. 18

The drought that struck the Great Plains in the 1950s led once again to emergency drought measures, but also eventually to new soil conservation programs and policies. The Colorado legislature made $1,000,000 available to plains farmers in March 1954. The U. S. Department of Agriculture spent $13.3 million on emergency tillage in 1954, and another $9,275,000 in 1955. The Agricultural Conservation Program spent $70,011,000 on drought emergency conservation measures in twenty-one states during 1954-1956. Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Texas used $37,848,000 of the funds. Additional funds went to other drought relief measures. 19

As it turned out, the 1950s drought provided an opportunity for SCS to promote a new program for dealing with conservation and drought in the Great Plains. They suggested to USDA's drought committee that any financial assistance be used to assist farmers to convert cropland back to grassland by paying 50 percent of the cost with the proviso that it remain in grass at least five years. 20 The full committee's report seized on the idea of long-term contracts for restoring grass. It went even further in saying that to discourage a subsequent plow-up it might be necessary to use "restrictive covenants and surrender of eligibility for allotments, loans and crop insurance." 21 Meanwhile, USDA representatives met with members of the rejuvenated Great Plains Agriculture Council to work on a program. It called for measures it was hoped would prove more lasting than the cyclical assistance in emergency tillage and emergency feed and seed programs. The report called for "installing and establishing those practices which are most enduring and most needed but which are not now part of their normal farm and ranch operations." 22 President Eisenhower introduced the bill that was to become the Great Plains Conservation Program into Congress on June 19, 1956. Under the bill, the Secretary of Agriculture could enter into contracts, not to exceed ten years, with producers. No contract could be signed after December 31, 1971. The Secretary was to designate the counties in the ten Great Plains states that had serious wind erosion problems. The contracts were to stipulate the "schedule of proposed changes in cropping systems and land use and of conservation measures." The House Committee reported favorably on the bill with a few reservations. Only one major farm group showed up to testify in favor of the bill. John A. Baker of the National Farmers Union favored the bill, but even he reported that plains' farmers and ranchers had "some qualms and some apprehensions about these master plans." 23

After the President signed the bill on August 7, 1956, (Public Law 84-102) Assistant Secretary Ervin L. Peterson designated the Soil Conservation Service to implement the program. 24 Cyril Luker, a native Texan who had worked in Amarillo in charge of erosion control practices, chaired an inter-agency group that would write the basic guidelines and program structure. Jefferson C. Dykes, Assistant Administrator and a student of the history of the Great Plains, chaired the work group on farm and ranch planning. Donald Williams, Administrator of the Soil Conservation Service, ordered the state conservationist of the ten Great Plains states to make proposals to the inter-agency group. 25 The government officials also held meetings with cattle- and sheep-raising groups as well as farm groups. 26

In working with the inter-agency committee, SCS wrapped nearly two decades of experience into the program guidelines. Essentially, they wanted the individual contracts with farmers to bring about soil conservation while at the same time assisting in the development of economically stable farm and ranch units. Though he did not work on the Great Plains program, H. H. Finnell, former head of SCS's regional office at Amarillo, wrote in Soil Conservation, the official magazine of the Soil Conservation Service:

A more logical and permanent remedy would be the development of an intermediate type of agriculture to use marginal land. This land is just as capable of being efficiently operated as any other lands, provided the demands made upon it are kept within its natural moisture and fertility capabilities. Ranching is not intensive enough to resist economic pressures while grain farming is too intensive for the physical limitations of the land. A special type of agriculture for marginal land is needed. It must use the land more intensively than ranching and at the same time more safely than grain farming. Men of stable character and more patience than those who ride on waves of speculation will be needed to work this out. 27

The contracts with farmers certainly did not dictate what was to be done there would be mutual agreement. But it would nonetheless be a contract, and the contract would promote the idea of soil conservation and stability. The idea of risk reduction through diversification was certainly not new in the plains, or to other agricultural areas of the United States. Diversification helped farmer-ranchers withstand fluctuations in weather and prices. Surveys during the 1930s showed that failure in the plains came primarily among two groups, strict dry farmers who had no cattle, and cattlemen who grew no feed. Those who combined ranching and farming most often succeeded. 28 SCS people such as Luker and Dykes recognized that stability was good for soil conservation. The Great Plains Conservation Program was to aim for both. The debate in the work group about farm and ranch planning over sharing the cost of irrigation illustrated the emphasis on the stability of operating units. Many members of the work group believed irrigation should be ineligible for cost-sharing, since it could not be considered a soil conserving practice. Dykes, however, argued that irrigation would be needed on some of the small ranches to achieve the goal of economic stability by providing supplemental feed. 29

Irrigation was of course only one of the farming and ranching practices that contracts with the Great Plains Conservation Program would include. USDA would share the cost of some of these practices with the farmer. Assistant Secretary Patterson also decided that SCS should be responsible for making the cost-sharing payments for soil conservation practices to farmers and ranchers. It was a decision to which SCS attached the utmost importance. USDA began paying part of the cost of soil conservation practices under the Agricultural Conservation Program which was provided for in the Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act of 1936. USDA seized on the soil conservation rationale to reenact production controls after the Supreme Court invalidated portions of the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1933. Farming practices that were eligible for conservation payments became a point of contention between SCS and the agencies responsible for administering the Agricultural Conservation Program. Currently it is the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service. SCS regarded some practices, such as liming, as annual production practices. SCS preferred sharing the cost of "enduring" soil conservation practices, such as terracing, that brought long-term benefits. Another long-held preference SCS people brought to their task was the matter of the whole farm conservation plan. Since the 1930s they taught that farmers should regard all their needs and concerns in planning for soil conservation while at the same time taking the need for cash crops, pasture, forage, and other needs into account. Of course, farmers could start using this plan at the rate they preferred. But the Great Plains program would involve a contract that provided for rather generous cost-sharing. Thus, it was required that the farmers and ranchers have a plan for the whole farm and that they install all the conservation measures, though the government might not be sharing the cost of all of them.

The three- to ten-year contracts called for a number of conservation practices--field and wind stripcropping, windbreaks, waterways, terraces, diversions, erosion control dams and grade stabilization structures, waterspreading systems, reorganizing irrigation systems, wells and water storage facilities, fences to distribute grazing, and control of shrubs. But by far the greatest emphasis was on converting cropland on the erodible sandy and thin soils back to grassland and improving rangeland and pastures to further diversified farming-ranching in the plains. 30 A recent program appraisal revealed that 53 percent of the GPCP contracts had been with combination livestock-crop farms, 30 percent with principally livestock farms or ranches, and just over 10 percent with crop and cash grain farms. About 85 percent of the units were under the same management when the contracts expired. 31

The Great Plains, and more especially the Great Plains Conservation Program, influenced national soil conservation policies and programs as the long-term contracts to maintain cost-shared conservation practices became the standard procedure in other conservation programs. Soil conservation district people and SCS looked on the concept of a special program designed for a special conservation problem area as a model that could be used in other sections. Congress never approved any of the proposed programs for other sections of the country. The Agriculture and Food Act of 1981 included a section on Special Areas Conservation Program based in part on the GPCP experience. USDA did not request funds for the special areas, but did target some problem areas for extra funds.

The Great Plains, its climate, geography, and history, influenced another national program, the small watershed program as it is generally called. The Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Act of 1954 made USDA one of the federal participants in flood control work. SCS took the leadership in working in upstream tributary watersheds of less than 250,000 acres. The flood control side of the project provided federal funding for floodwater retarding structures, channel modifications, and other engineering works to reduce flooding along streams. Watershed protection involved soil conservation practices on farms and ranches in the watershed to reduce the sediment moving to the streams and reservoirs. For much of its history, SCS has generally added soil conservationists to these watershed project areas to assist farmers with the soil conservation practices. USDA has been involved in 1,387 projects covering more than 87 million acres.

The Flood Control Act of 1936 gave USDA authority to work on flood control in the upstream areas. Some SCS people certainly favored retarding structures as part of the program to be submitted to Congress for approval, but they were stymied at the department level. The Flood Control Act of 1944 authorized eleven projects for work by the Department of Agriculture. SCS did build a few retarding structures, but the USDA General Counsel ruled against building any additional ones. In the late 1940s and early 1950s SCS was having difficulty getting additional programs approved. There the matter rested until floods hit the Missouri River in the early 1950s. Kansas City, Topeka, and Omaha demanded completion of the Pick-Sloan plans for flood control on the tributaries of the Missouri. Farmers and residents who would lose their farms and homes stridently resisted. They offered soil conservation and small dams in the headwaters as an alternative. The most vocal were the residents of the Big Blue Valley, north of Manhattan, Kansas. They were joined by residents of Lincoln, Nebraska, who had formed a Salt-Wahoo group to promote a small watershed program. Elmer Peterson, a journalist from Oklahoma, promoted small dams as an alternative in Big Dam Foolishness. 32

That this debate should emanate from Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska was in part related to the climate and geography of the plains where farmers could raise corn in the moist bottomland to supplement the hilly grasslands that were too dry to support crops. A small watershed program would provide flood protection to land already used for agriculture, while large dams would inundate the best agricultural land and leave the land suited to grazing or wheat. Because of soil type and moisture the flood plains of the Missouri River tributaries were prized by farmers. Consider the case of N. A. Brubaker, who had 283 acres of land on the Vermillion River in Kansas. The 83 acres of bottom land that supplied feed for his livestock were about to be lost to the Tuttle Creek Dam. His 200 acres of hill land was nontillable. He posed this dilemma to Senator Arthur Capper, "Now if my bottom land will be effected by the water from the Dam, and taken away from me, what use would I have for the 200-acre pasture, as I would not have any land to raise feed for the live stock, and as there would be so much pasture land left in the same way, there would not be much chance of leasing it." 33 A chemistry professor at nearby Kansas State College believed similarly, that the bottomland was the only productive cropland in the Blue River watershed. "The Flint Hills upland provides grazing for cattle but is useless for cropping. There farmers must raise corn on bottomland to finish their cattle. This combination of bottom land for corn and truck farming, and upland for grazing has made the Blue Valley a productive, prosperous region. Without bottom land the entire region will be impoverished and depopulated." 34 The Tuttle Creek Dam and others of the Pick-Sloan plan were built, but the small watershed forces persisted. They met with President Eisenhower and secured his blessing. The small watershed program, authorized in the Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Act of 1954, spread to the rest of the country. In addition to flood control on agricultural land, it has been used for protection of rural communities, small towns, recreation, water supply, irrigation, and drainage.

The Great Plains also influenced the conservation provisions in the recent Food Security Act of 1985. The plains have been central to questions of landowners' responsibilities to neighbors in not letting erosion impact on their farms. This, of course, can happen with water erosion, with one farmer in the upper part of the watershed influencing the runoff and sedimentation taking place on a farm in the lower part of the watershed. But the most dramatic examples are usually wind erosion from cropland affecting a neighbor's fields. Generally the cases cited have laid the blame on outside investors looking for a quick profit in wheat. Whether this is an accurate portrayal in all cases, the breaking of rangeland for cropland did in part speed passage of some drastic changes in soil conservation laws and policies. It was undoubtedly one of the factors influencing the conservation provisions of the Food Security Act of 1985.

Probably the opening wedge in events that would change the conservation programs took place with the rise in grain prices following the large Soviet grain deals in the early 1970s. Grain exports for 1973 were double those of 1972, and the price quadrupled from 1970 to 1974. 35 At the time Secretary of Agriculture Earl L. Butz released production controls, including the annual set-aside acres. He declared, "For the first time in many years the American farmer is free to produce as much as he can." 36 Farmers in many sections of the country responded, but the plains received the most publicity, mostly for the removal of wide windbreaks for center pivot irrigation system. 37 A Soil Conservation Service survey later found that new, narrower windbreak plantings between 1970 and 1975 offset the losses. 38

As stories of increased soil erosion spread, groups that had played a large role in the environmental movement increasingly turned attention to soil erosion. They--along with allies in Congress--questioned the effectiveness of existing soil conservation programs. The Soil and Water Re-sources Conservation Act of 1977 mandated studies of the soil and water conservation programs and the development of new policies to attack the problem. The lobbying and studies resulted in some changes in policies, but the drastic changes came with the 1985 farm bill. Events in the plains played a key role in the new conservation authorities that would appear in the bill. Between 1977 and 1982 wheat farmers planted large tracts of grassland in Montana (1.8 million acres), South Dakota (750,000 acres), and Colorado (572,000 acres). In some places the resulting wind erosion proved a nuisance to neighbors. Some vocal and effective local landowners such as Edith Steiger Phillips of Keota, Colorado, wanted action. The Coloradans persuaded Senator Williams Armstrong in 1981 to introduce a bill that would deprive those who plowed fragile lands of price support payments. Such payments have long been seen as inducing speculation and reducing normal caution in planting very erodible land to wheat. Mainline groups like the Colorado Cattlemen's Association and the American Farm Bureau Federation supported the legislative effort. Several counties in Colorado, including Weld County where Edith Phillips lived, and Petroleum County in Montana passed ordinances to try to prevent plowing on grasslands.

The Armstrong bill, finally dubbed the "sodbuster bill" did not become law. USDA wanted to wait for the next reauthorization of the general farm bill to consider any new provisions, but the pressure from the Great Plains gave some grass roots support for changes in the conservation provisions. The Food Security Act linked soil conservation to eligibility for other USDA programs. The act included sodbuster as well as other conservation provisions. The framers of this act especially wanted to eliminate the possibility that commodity price support programs encouraged poor soil conservation practices. Under the conservation compliance section farmers have until 1990 to begin applying a conservation plan on highly erodible land, and until 1995 to fully implement the conservation plan in order to stay eligible for other USDA programs.

The sodbuster provision applies to any highly erodible field that was neither planted to an annual crop nor used as set-aside or diverted acres under a USDA commodity program for at least one year between December 31, 1980 and December 23, 1985. If farmers wish to bring such land into production, they would lose eligibility for USDA programs unless they applied an approved conservation system to control erosion on the fields. The swampbuster or wetland conservation stipulated that farmers would lose eligibility for USDA programs if they drained wetlands after December 23, 1985, the date of the passage of the act. A conservation coalition that lobbied for this provision included old-line soil conservation organizations like the Soil and Water Conservation Society of America and the National Association of Conservation Districts as well as environmental groups. Prominent officials in USDA such as John Block and Peter Myers favored many of the provisions. But the grass roots examples of support from the plains influenced Congress even more. This is a prime example but not the only one of the way commodity programs instigated the use of land for cropland that would be better suited to rangeland. Emotionally, the conversion of rangeland to cropland has an appeal that catches the public attention more than erosion from cropland in the humid east. The 1985 provisions are some of the most far-reaching we have seen in agriculture. They are premised on the idea that some USDA programs induced the use of erodible land that would not have occurred otherwise. The Great Plains, as they so often did, served as the prime example for changes in soil conservation policies. 39

Endnotes

1 Hugh H. Bennett, The Hugh Bennett Lectures (Raleigh, North Carolina: The Agricultural Foundation, Inc., North Carolina State College, 1959), 23.

2 This episode is agency folklore around the Soil Conservation Service. I was skeptical of its veracity. In the records of the Soil Conservation Service in National Archives, I located some telegrams which indicated that Bennett was usually informed about the location of dust storms. Then I found that Bennett had told fellow North Carolinian and author Jonathan Daniels about the episode. Another variation of the story, which I have not confirmed, is that Bennett had the Senate hearing delayed until the dust storm's anticipated arrival. Jonathan Daniels, Tar Heels: A Portrait of North Carolina (New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1941), 188. Wayne Rasmussen also investigated this question and concluded from Senate hearings that the story was probably true. Wayne D. Rasmussen, "History of Soil Conservation, Institutions and Incentives," in Harold G. Halcrow, et al., eds., Soil Conservation Policies, Institutions, and Incentives (Ankeny, Iowa: Soil Conservation Society of America, 1982), 7.

3 Donald Worster, Dust Bowl: The Southern Plains in the 1930s (New York, N.Y.: Oxford University Press, 1979), 5.

4 Paul Bonnifield, The Dust Bowl: Men, Dirt, and Depression (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1979), 130.

5 R. Douglas Hurt, The Dust Bowl: An Agricultural and Social History (Chicago, Illinois: Nelson-Hall Publishers, 1981), 156.

6 Hugh Hammond Bennett, Soil Conservation (New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1939), 739.

7 Donald T. Pendleton, "Home, Home on the Range," Journal of NAL Associates 7 (1982): 78-93.

8 Russell Lord, To Hold This Soil, USDA Miscellaneous Publication No. 321 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1938), 67.

9 Lord, To Hold This Soil, p. 67.

10 Donald T. Pendleton, "Range Conditions and Secondary Succession as Used in the Soil Conservation Service," in press, 4.

11 E. J. Dyksterhuis, "Condition and Management of Range Land Based on Quantitative Ecology," Journal of Range Management 2 (July 1949): 104.

12 Thomas N. Shiflet, "Range Sites and Soils in the United States," in Arid Shrublands: Proceedings of the Their Workshop of the United States-Australian Rangelands Panel (Tucson, Arizona, 1973), 26-33.

13 Dyksterhuis, "Condition and Management of Range Land," 111.

14 National Survey, Conservation Tillage Practices, 1988 (West Lafayette, Indiana: National Association of Conservation Districts, 1988), 6.

15 Data Base, National Resources Inventory, 1982. Soil Conservation Service, Washington, D.C.

16 Salina (Kansas) Journal, March 15, 1989, 1.

17 "Wind Erosion Worst in Over 30 Years,.' USDA News Release 789-89. June 19, 1989.

18 For a view that questions the presumptions of the early soil conservationists working in the Great Plains see especially James Malin's "Men, the State of Nature, and Climate," and other essays in Robert P. Swierenga, James C. Malin, History and Ecology: Studies of Grassland (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1984), 1-374.

19 R. Douglas Hurt, "Return of the Dust Bowl: The Filthy Fifties," Journal of West 28 (1979): 89-90 "Federal Cost-Sharing for Drought Emergency Conservation Measures, 1954-1956, Agricultural Conservation Program," Drought File, General Correspondence, Records of the Office of the Secretary of Agriculture, Record Group 16, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC.

20 Recommendations of the Soil Conservation Service to the Departmental Committee on Land Use Problems in the Great Plains, May 12, 1955, Historical SCS Reports File, Great Plains Conservation Program Files, Soil Conservation Service, Washington, D.C.

21 Preliminary Report of the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Possible Solutions for Agricultural Problems of the Great Plains, May 1955, Historical SCS Reports, Great Plains Conservation Program Files, SCS, Washington, D.C.

22 Program for the Great Plains, U.S. Congress, House Document No. 289, 84th Cong. 2d. sess., 1956, p. 4.

23 Great Plains Conservation Program, U.S. Congress, House, Hearings before the Committee on Agriculture, 84th Cong., 2d. sess., 1956, pp. 1-36.

24 Interview with Ervin L. Peterson, September 9, 1981, History Office, Soil Conservation Service. Washington DC.

25 Minutes. Great Plains Inter-agency Group, December 17, 1956, Great Plains Conservation Program Files, Soil Conservation Service, Washington, D.C.

26 Minutes, Great Plains Inter-agency Group, December 17, 1956 and February 17, 1957, Great Plains Conservation Program Files, Soil Conservation Service, Washington, D.C.

27 H. H. Finnell, "Pity the Poor Land," Soil Conservation 12 (September 1946): 31-32.

28 John T. Schlebecker, Cattle Raising on the Plains, 1900-1962 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1963), 149.

29 J. C. Dykes and J. B. Slack, A minority report from the Farm and Ranch Planning Task Force, February 19, 1957, Great Plains Inter-agency Group, Great Plains Conservation Program Files, Soil Conservation Service, Washington, D.C.

30 Douglas Helms, Great Plains Conservation Program (Washington, D.C.: Soil Conservation Service, 1981), 1-22.

31 Great Plains Conservation Program Evaluation: Part II: Background and Summary Statistics (Prepared mainly by James A. Lewis) (Washington, D.C.: Soil Conservation Service, 1987), 19-20.

32 Douglas Helms, "Small Watersheds and the USDA: Legacy of the Flood Control Act of 1936," in The Flood Control Challenge: Past, Present, and Future (Chicago, Illinois: Public Works Historical Society, 1988), 67-88 Homer E. Socolofsky, "The Great Flood of 1951 and The Tuttle Creek Controversy," in John D. Bright, ed., Kansas: The First Century, Vol. II. (New York, N.Y.: Lewis Publishing Company, Inc., 1956), 494-502.

33 N. A. Brubaker, Bigelow, Kansas, to Arthur Capper, January 24, 1946, Albert Cole Collection, Kansas State Historical Society. Topeka, Kansas.

34 J. L. Hall, Department of Chemistry, Manhattan, Kansas to Clifford R. Hope, May 7, 1953. Clifford R. Hope Collection, Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka, Kansas.

35 Sandra A. Batie, Crisis in America's Cropland (Washington, D.C.: Conservation Foundation, 1983), 5.

36 Earl L. Butz, "Produce and Protect," Journal of Soil and Water Conservation 28 (1973): 250-251.

37 Kenneth E. Grant, "Erosion in 1973-1974: The Record and the Challenge," Journal of Soil and Water Conservation 30 (1975) : 29-32.

38 Field Windbreak Removals in Five Great Plains States, 1970 to 1975 (Washington, D.C.: Soil Conservation Service, 1980), 1-15.

39 Douglas Helms, "New Authorities and New Roles: SCS and the 1985 Farm Bill," in press. In an issue titled Implementing the Conservation Provisions of the Food Security Act of 1985 (Ankeny, Iowa: Soil and Water Conservation Society).


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