ABSTRACT

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live in a world without soil? For eight years during the 1930s those living on the Great Plains of the USA and Canada got a chilling insight into just what such a world might look like. The Great Plains of North America (referred to as the Prairie in Canada) make up one of the most significant agricultural regions in the world. Covering an area of some 400 million acres that runs through the heart of the North America continent (see Figure 4.1), the flat relief and fertile soils of this region have made it highly conducive to a range of agricultural practices. The most significant crop grown on the Great Plains is wheat, but the region is also synonymous with the cultivation of barley, corn, cotton and soybeans (among many other things) (Hudson, 2011). In addition to supporting the growing of food crops, the Plains are also home to vast ranches that are devoted to the rearing of sheep and cattle.