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Conservation Lessons of the Dust Bowl

The lessons learned from the Dust Bowl are as important today as they were in the 1930s. As the world’s population continues to grow, so does the demand for food and fiber. For example, we expect that food production will need to double by 2050 to keep up with these demands.

If we are to meet those demands – without creating another natural disaster – it is critical to keep our lands and waters healthy and productive. Conservation cannot be viewed as an afterthought or a luxury. It is an essential tool to ensure the long-term productivity of agriculture and forestry, and to sustain the economic viability of rural families and communities.

We should be proud that our nation has been able to avoid another Dust Bowl thanks to well-designed conservation programs that assist farmers to retire unproductive lands, protect the soils and water sources farmers rely upon for their livelihoods, and preserve natural habitat in rural landscapes.

The results of these conservation activities have multiple benefits for every region of America. Not only have we been able to feed growing populations, but we’ve also protected rural economies. Farming and farm-related employment supports about 24 million jobs across the United States. Hunting, angling and wildlife-dependent recreation contribute $122 billion annually to our national economy. Natural resources-based products represent a significant proportion of the export sector so essential to our economic health.

Seventy years ago, the Dust Bowl taught our nation the importance of conservation. We learned a very important lesson. Our economies, our security and our livelihoods continue to depend on healthy lands and waters.

Read more about the Dust Bowl and the conservation policies it sparked, and see a slide show of the impact it had across the country.

Mark Tercek is the president and CEO of The Nature Conservancy.

[Image: A dust storm envelopes a house in Stratford, TX. Image source: Natural Resources Conservation Service]

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32 comments

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2:20AM PDT on Jun 7, 2013

Thank you

4:48PM PDT on Jun 15, 2012

Thanx, for the article

11:56AM PDT on Jun 5, 2012

Mark is hosting a twitter chat on Thursday. Please ask him more about this or other topics. Here is how:
http://blog.nature.org/2012/06/mark-tercek-twitter-chat-ceo-answers-your-questions/?s_intc=tab1p2

4:11AM PDT on May 29, 2012

The Grapes of Wrath should still be required reading.

3:09AM PDT on May 27, 2012

Soil erosion by over watering is a great problem in some areas, this just washes the best topsoil away, Ploughing is not such a good idea if done at the wrong time(which is almost always) & unnatural

11:50PM PDT on May 26, 2012

What a scary time that was. They need to add that to mainstream history books. I didn't learn about that when I was in school.

10:25PM PDT on May 26, 2012

Gardening indoor and outdoor is an answer. Each man, and women that is willing, can help to contribute to their own food supply by growing food in their own windows, mini greenhouses, containers, and garden plot -- if they have one. Saving the seeds from year to year will help with seed diversity.

"Congress created a new agency – now known as the Natural Resources Conservation Service – to address land erosion and provide financial incentives for farmers to take lands unsuited for agriculture out of crop production, and turn them into permanent pastures or forests."

Read more: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/conservation-lessons-of-the-dust-bowl.html#ixzz1w2p1d23A

8:18PM PDT on May 26, 2012

So what will the conservatives find wrong with saving farm land I wonder?

11:04AM PDT on May 26, 2012

Thanks a lot for sharing this post!!!

10:43AM PDT on May 26, 2012

My dad told me about this!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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