On the Great Plains: Agriculture and Environment

On the Great Plains: Agriculture and Environment

by Geoff Cunfer
     
 

ISBN-10: 1585444006

ISBN-13: 9781585444007

Pub. Date: 04/28/2005

Publisher: Texas A&M University Press

"Depending on who is telling it, the history of Euro-American farmers on the Great Plains has been a story of either agricultural triumph or ecological failure - an optimistic tale of taming nature for human purposes or a dire account of disrupting nature and suffering the environmental consequences." "In On the Great Plains, author Geoff Cunfer poses an alternative…  See more details below

Overview

"Depending on who is telling it, the history of Euro-American farmers on the Great Plains has been a story of either agricultural triumph or ecological failure - an optimistic tale of taming nature for human purposes or a dire account of disrupting nature and suffering the environmental consequences." "In On the Great Plains, author Geoff Cunfer poses an alternative scenario: that people were not the masters of nature on the Great Plains. Land use in America's vast interior prairies has stayed remarkably stable throughout the twentieth century, changing little as droughts came and went, as farmers shifted from horses to tractors, and as federal subsidies and fluctuating crop prices transformed the economics of farming. An equilibrium between natural and human forces emerged as farmers plowed and planted the same amount of cropland during most of this period, maintaining two-thirds of the Great Plains in unplowed, native vegetation." To support his theory, Cunfer looks at the entire Great Plains (450 counties in ten states), tapping historical agricultural census data paired with GIS mapping to illuminate land use on the Great Plains over 130 years. Coupled with several community and family case studies, this database allows Cunfer to reassess the interaction between farmers and nature in the Great Plains agricultural landscape.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781585444007
Publisher:
Texas A&M University Press
Publication date:
04/28/2005
Series:
Environmental History Series, #20
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.50(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

1Introduction3
2Pasture and plows16
3Grassland grazing37
4Crop diversity69
5Horsepower113
6Drought and dust bowl143
7Ogallala irrigation164
8Fertile ground201
9Conclusion232

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