(NaturalNews) Conventional commercial agricultural methods which involve poisoning of the soil, monocultural practices, repeated plowing of fields and removal of trees are being blamed for returning "Dust Bowl" conditions across much of the Midwest and Southwest.
As noted by The Economic Collapse Blog, early explorers of North America noted that, when traveling through the region that would eventually become North Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas, they referred to it as "the Great American Desert," and they doubted that anyone would ever be able to successfully farm the land.
History, however, proved that, if the region received satisfactory rainfall, it could actually be quite productive. But now, as in years past, the area is stuck in the midst of a devastating multi-year drought, and if forecasts are to be believed, there appears to be no quick end in sight. At present, 54 percent of Texas, 64 percent of Oklahoma and 80 percent of Kansas are experiencing "severe drought." Again, as stated, the long-term summer forecast does not anticipate much rain.
The last time the area suffered severe drought conditions were during the Dust Bowl in the 1930s, but in many respects some of those regions are already drier than they were 80 years ago.
"And the relentless high winds that are plaguing that area of the country are kicking up some hellacious dust storms," the blog reported. "For example, some parts of Kansas experienced a two day dust storm last month. And Lubbock, Texas was hit be a three day dust storm last month. We are witnessing things that we have not seen since the depths of the Dust Bowl days, and unless the region starts getting a serious amount of rain, things are going to get a whole lot worse before they get any better."
High wind and bone-dry conditions over the past couple of months have made life difficult for ordinary farmers in all three states.
Though the dust has settled for now, observes Agriculture.com, that could change at any moment. No one is sure when they will return to blow away even more precious topsoil, which took generations to build -- topsoil erosion that some say is due in large part to the tilling of the land, degradation of the soil through the use of agri-poisons and the lack of trees to cut wind.
"One farmer reckons that precious topsoil, native to his farm in Kearny County, Kansas, now sits in a field at least 200 miles away, blown there by the relentless winds of March and April 2014," Agriculture.com reported.
Tom Hauser, a farmer near Ulysses, Kansas, told the website that there were days when "we couldn't see 100 yards in front of us."
"We didn't know where the dust was coming from. It was moving in here from somewhere else, just like it did back in the 1930s," he said.
In the last 10 years, Hauser says he has had four failed wheat crops, and it looks as though 2014 is shaping up to be the same kind of year.
Since the beginning of 2014, the average maximum daily wind speed in Syracuse, Kansas, is 50.6 miles per hour, according to measurements taken by the Kansas State University Weather Data Library. During the same period, Syracuse has received just 1 inch of precipitation.
"That is a recipe for disaster," says Agriculture.com.
As bad as things are in Kansas, things are probably worse in Texas, parts of which are currently experiencing the worst drought in a generation.
Amarillo has had 10 dust storms so far this year, and Lubbock has already had 15 days of dust storms in 2014 -- and summer has not yet officially begun.
The sustained drought conditions are having an effect far beyond the damaged, parched fields. In grocery stores around the country, prices have been steadily rising over the past year:
-- Ground beef prices are up 5.9 percent;
-- Bacon prices have risen 13.1 percent;
-- Organic chicken is up 12.4 percent; and
-- Prices for produce have risen sharply too, varying from region to region.