The Dust Bowl was the name of the Great Plains region of the United States during the Great Depression. The region went through a harsh drought that turned the land into a dusty, dry and cracked landscape. The drought lasted for three years and forced many residents to move.
Due to the area already getting low rainfall and high winds, the grasses did not have the necessary root system to keep the top soil from being blown around into what the residents called "Black Blizzards." Cattle died from choking due to these dust storms and over 60 percent of the residents left their homes for the urban areas or areas farther to the west such as California. Another factor leading to the agriculture disaster was that farmers over-planted, tearing up grasslands for crops which ruined the root system.
Although the drought ended in 1937, it was not until 1941 that farmers and the government successfully rehabilitated the land. In that time, the Roosevelt administration put in place New Deal programs, such as the Soil Conservation Service, to combat the disaster. This service recommended farmers plant trees and grass and keep parts of farm land out of service each year to allow the soil to regain its nutrients.
The Dust Bowl inspired literary works from famous authors such as John Steinbeck and popular songs from musicians such as Woody Guthrie.