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Jeff_a_Caldwell
Senior Contributor

'Dust Bowl redux?'

Howdy, everybody. I'm thinking about working on some stories about a topic that's pretty near and dear to my heart being a western Kansas guy: The Dust Bowl. My grandparents grew up in Kansas and Oklahoma and lived through the worst of it, and I grew up hearing stories about it. I've read a lot about it. Have heard a lot of stories. Really interests me personally, frankly.

 

So, I'd like to dig into it more and maybe write a few stories on it, not just the Dust Bowl, but the prospects for something like that happening again today. Some folks may argue it's already happening. I know I've got pictures my dad sent me a couple years ago of a 'roller' barreling down on their house. 

 

The thing I'm most curious about: Are we setting the stage for it to happen again? Mother Nature's sure doing more than her part. But, are we helping her out with how we're farming? What can we do to keep her from making it happen again?

 

I'm really curious and look forward to hearing what you all think! Hopefully everybody's out planting, so maybe this'll give you something to think about while you watch your GPS monitor in the cab!

 

Stay safe out there, everybody! Have a great one!

 

Jeff

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4 Replies
dnorris1
Contributor

Re: 'Dust Bowl redux?'

My great uncle would talk about one morning when a dust storm rolled in while he was eating pancakes.  When he finished there was a white spot on his plate where the pancakes had been.  The rest of the plate was black with dirt.  My granddad told me once that emotionally the "dirty thirties" was probably the happiest time of his life.  There was little work to do because nothing was growing and the families in the community would gather at his house throughout the week to pass the time.  They would pitch horseshoes, play baseball, freeze ice cream etc.  Evidently there was enough feed to sustain at least one milk cow.  My granddad did have one advantage in that he had one of the very few wells that did not go dry.  He did allow neighbors to haul water from his well to sustain their households.  Probably why he had a crowd there to put together a ball team.

hardnox
Advisor

Re: 'Dust Bowl redux?'

I'm heading back out immediately so as to dodge all the brickbats that will come flying through the screen shortly.

 

But increasing chronic aridity in the Southern Plains is one of the long predicted products of climate change, as is increased rainfall in the Northern Plains.

 

In both cases, there's plenty of historical precedent of past cyclical periods of both so current tendencies to both is hardly probative.

 

The question is, at what lesser or greater degree of probability does a precautionary principle come into play?

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c-x-1
Veteran Advisor

Re: 'Dust Bowl redux?'

Jeff,

I would entitle your story, "Talcum Bowl Redux"

 

when it feels like west Tx in Houston in May??? - i can sense the water being sucked away (from the atmosphere) just being outside...so can the plants - wilting after 2 days of no water--we're generally dripping w/ moisture by now.

 

Again---this is a TROPICAL climate area - well, used to be.

 

Can't imagine what sw's going through.

 

Scary to say and contemplate, but we are probably going through a 500 - 1000 yr event................refer to paleo-climate on drought monitor site. 

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4KSU
Frequent Contributor

Re: 'Dust Bowl redux?'

Today's farming practices are much kinder to the soil in general than they were in the 30's. I suspect with this historic heat/drought we've experienced the last 3 years things would look eerily similar to conditions in the 30's without adopting the conservation farming most use now. Also, lot of rougher acres, especially in western ks that used to be farmed are now in CRP as well. All be it a good portion has come back into farming with this last boom era in farming.
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