Farmers in New Mexico Fear a New Dust Bowl
With little reprieve from the terrible, continuous drought that has afflicted much of the country, Great Plains farmers are concerned that the ongoing weather catastrophe, along with environmental deterioration, could lead to conditions similar to the Dust Bowl of the 1930s.
Arid weather and high winds, along with a general lack of care for environmental conservation, resulted in huge environmental devastation as exposed topsoil flew away in the wind, causing massive dust storms that blotted out the sun during the Great Depression.
While most farmers do not expect the enormous environmental calamity of the 1930s to repeat itself, the continuous drought has resulted in major dust storms, prompting many farmers to fear that dust storms and droughts may become a way of life in the Great Plains. For example, satellite photographs from earlier this month revealed a 150-mile dust storm sweeping across Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico.
Climate change, as well as the depletion of major aquifers in the Great Plains, are to blame for the dust storm. Major irrigation projects across the Plains have drained the Ogallala aquifer, resulting in drier topsoil, which has resulted in dust storms when combined with the prolonged drought.
Increased conservation efforts are already being pushed by environmental groups to defend the increasingly vulnerable ecosystem. A lot of farmers are also trying to secure agricultural loans to help them get through the tough times, but it is unclear whether this will be enough to prevent another Dust Bowl.
The Dust Bowl of the 1930s was one of the worst environmental disasters in American history, and it is clear that the Great Plains are once again becoming susceptible to the same conditions. If the current drought continues and major dust storms become more frequent, it is possible that the Great Plains could once again see an environmental catastrophe on the scale of the Dust Bowl.