First the Depression, then the Dust Bowl. Wikipedia talks about how Roosevelt tried to conserve soil and restore the ecological balance, but avoids mentioning that these actions preceded the worst effects of the Dust Bowl. How much you want to bet that environmentalist policies exacerbated the problem?
Originally Posted by SarasotaRepub
During President Franklin D. Roosevelt's first 100 days in office in 1933, governmental programs designed to conserve soil and restore the ecological balance of the nation were implemented. Interior Secretary Harold L. Ickes established the Soil Erosion Service in August 1933 under Hugh Hammond Bennett. In 1935, it was transferred and reorganized under the Department of Agriculture and renamed the Soil Conservation Service. More recently, it has been renamed the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
Additionally, the Federal Surplus Relief Corporation (FSRC) was created after more than six million pigs were slaughtered to stabilize prices. The pigs were sent to slaughterhouses and the meat packed and distributed to the poor and hungry. FDR in an Address on the AAA commented, "Let me make one other point clear for the benefit of the millions in cities who have to buy meats. Last year the Nation suffered a drought of unparalleled intensity. If there had been no Government program, if the old order had obtained in 1933 and 1934, that drought on the cattle ranges of America and in the corn belt would have resulted in the marketing of thin cattle, immature hogs and the death of these animals on the range and on the farm, and if the old order had been in effect those years, we would have had a vastly greater shortage than we face today. Our program -- we can prove it -- saved the lives of millions of head of livestock. They are still on the range, and other millions of heads are today canned and ready for this country to eat."
The FSRC diverted agricultural commodities to relief organizations. Apples, beans, canned beef, flour and pork products were distributed through local relief channels. Cotton goods were later included, to clothe the needy.
In 1935, the federal government formed a Drought Relief Service (DRS) to coordinate relief activities. The DRS bought cattle in counties which were designated emergency areas, for $14 to $20 a head. Animals unfit for human consumption – more than 50 percent at the beginning of the program – were killed. The remaining cattle were given to the Federal Surplus Relief Corporation (FSRC) to be used in food distribution to families nationwide. Although it was difficult for farmers to give up their herds, the cattle slaughter program helped many of them avoid bankruptcy. "The government cattle buying program was a blessing to many farmers, as they could not afford to keep their cattle, and the government paid a better price than they could obtain in local markets."