It is very serious in western Kansas as well. I have heard that
estimated costs of the 1996 drought to be $2 billion from loss of
agricultural products alone and $6 billion for other related "spinoff"
I have also heard the drought of 1996 called "the greatest natural
disaster to hit the area this century". I would not go that far, yet.
I still think the Dust Bowl was the worst. However, if we get several
consecutive years of drought like we have had in 1996, the results
could be similar or worse than the Dust Bowl. The crop conditions are
very poor, especially winter wheat, with little or no cover to prevent
the soil from blowing. If this drought continues, even the land in
grass may begin to blow for lack of protective plant residue.
As far as "alternative" farms, I really can't say. In terms of wind
erosion, as long as the fields are protected with crop residue or
stable soil aggregates, they should be fairly protected from wind
John Tatarko | email@example.com
USDA-ARS Wind Erosion Research Unit | WWW URL: http://www.weru.ksu.edu
Throckmorton Hall, KSU | phone: (913) 532-6720
Manhattan, KS 66506 | fax: (913) 532-6528