In 1909 the Federal Government expanded the Homestead Act to 320 acres. In addition, the demand for agricultural products, specifically wheat, caused a large influx of new farmers to the region. With the start of World War I, the demand for wheat increased tremendously. Europe relied on Russia for grain crops, but when the Turkish Navy blockaded their ships, the United States stepped in as the supplier. Government slogans such as “plant more wheat to win the war” became common an...
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...f the land as was done in the 1930’s. By 1952, the Ogallala aquifer was tapped and supplied the region with water, particularly during time periods of drought.
While many point to extended drought conditions for the cause of the Dust Bowl, the inflated price of wheat by the Federal Government caused a massive agricultural migration of farmers and speculative businessmen to the area, who stripped off the protective turf indiscriminately, allowing the arid winds to destroy the lands. Guaranteeing a profit of almost four hundred percent in hindsight could be viewed as reckless in the extreme, potentially thoughtless and imprudent in the least. For, were it not for the inflated price of wheat, the settlement of the Dust Bowl region would not have been a feverish event, promulgated across such a vast region, resulting in the worst ecological disaster in U.S. history.
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