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Kansas Memory has been created by the Kansas State Historical Society to share its historical collections via the Internet. Read more.

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Curriculum - 7th Grade Standards - Kansas History Standards - 1930s to 1940s (Benchmark 5) - Agriculture and the Dust Bowl (Indicator 1) - Terracing

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Day by day Kansas is rapidly washing away

Day by day Kansas is rapidly washing away
Creator: Topeka Capital
Date: December 4, 1932
This brief article discusses the importance of decreasing water erosion, which has washed away approximately ninety percent of the productive soil in eastern Kansas. Two remedies which are suggested are terracing and the planting of blue grass sod (which will bind the soil together). Scientists at Kansas State Agricultural College (now Kansas State University) were experimenting with these two techniques.


Dust Bowl soil is now same as Chinese desert

Dust Bowl soil is now same as Chinese desert
Creator: Hubbard, J. R.
Date: August 9, 1936
This article in the Topeka Capital discusses some of the causes of soil erosion and diminished soil moisture, as well as ways to counteract these forces. Both WPA engineers and scientists at the Hays Engineering Station have been measuring soil moisture and developing techniques to counteract the negative effects of the farming trends in use since World War I.


Terracing. A farm economy

Terracing. A farm economy
Date: Between 1932 and 1938
This article from an unidentified newspaper describes the problems that can occur if fields drain too rapidly and lose valuable moisture. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the rapid runoff of water "depletes our soils over twenty times as fast as growing crops." Terraces can prevent these losses by conserving water. The article encourages farmers to terrace their fields and even suggests that the formation of terracing clubs (essentially "co-ops") would divide the costs of terracing equipment among all the members. It also includes images of farmland prior to and after terracing.


To battle dust

To battle dust
Creator: Topeka Journal
Date: March 16, 1936
This article from the Topeka Journal discusses farmers' efforts to reverse the effects of blowing soil in western Kansas. Farmers in the Dust Bowl would receive a federal allotment to fund the listing of between 1 and 2 million acres of land. The allotment was expected to be 20 to 40 cents per acre of land that was listed.


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