Making Green Revolutions: Kansas Farms, Recovery, and the New Agriculture, 1918-1981
Sylvester, Kenneth M., and Paul W. Rhode. 2017. "Making Green Revolutions: Kansas Farms, Recovery, and the New Agriculture, 1918-1981." Agricultural History, 91(3): 342-368.
The literature on the Dust Bowl conveys the impression of widespread exodus from the Great Plains. But farm populations were often more resilient than the iconic photographs of the era suggest. While recent studies highlight that tenacity, less is known about the process of recovery and postwar growth. This paper offers a window on both. The evidence discussed here survives as a legacy of a long-lived, state-run agricultural statistics program in Kansas. The State Board of Agriculture conducted annual household surveys of farms between 1873 and 1981. Linked together over time, these farm-level surveys offer a detailed record of the residential and land-use histories of three communities, and they begin to illustrate how farm households met the challenges of the drought years and adjusted to the new agriculture in the post World War II era.