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SOIL CONSERVATION TECHNICIAN - Reclaiming The Dust

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Reclaiming the Dust

Preserving our soil and land resources is just plain common sense. But it was not until 1908 that President Theodore Roosevelt appointed the country's first National Conservation Commission to manage our natural resources.

However, the National Conservation Commission did not foresee the tragedy that would occur on many of our nation's farms only a few decades later.

During World War I, there was a shortage of wheat, and many Midwestern farmers began planting thousands of acres of wheat. Year after year, they planted wheat in the same soil. By the mid-1930s, the soil was dry and depleted of valuable nutrients. Dust storms across the plains carried away more than 800 million tons of topsoil! Many areas of the United States became like deserts, and farmers were unable to grow crops to feed their starving families.

Once again the federal government stepped in. In 1935, the Soil Conservation Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture was established to help restore and reclaim valuable farmlands. They were aided by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), created by President Franklin Roosevelt to help ease unemployment during the Great Depression. Their efforts were largely successful, and many farmers were able to reclaim their fields.

In the years since then, the federal government has established several thousand soil conservation districts across the United States. Their work will help insure that Americans never again lose their fields to dust.

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