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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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Agriculture - Agricultural methods and practices - Conservation - 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.


Summary forward, in The future of the Great Plains: Report of the Great Plains Committee

Summary forward, in The future of the Great Plains: Report of the Great Plains Committee
Creator: Great Plains Committee
Date: December 1936
This report was created by the Great Plains Committee, which had been called by the President to investigate the effects of drought and wind erosion in the southwestern United States. For the purposes of the committee, the Great Plains was defined as the states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana. The forward to the report, included here, states the purpose of the report and the steps that must be taken to solve this problem, both on the federal level and the state level. These steps include the development of water resources, government purchase of range lands, control of erosion, community organization, and legislation regarding tenancy, leasing, and delinquency.


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.


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