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University of Alberta (1997)

Survival and adaptation, an analysis of dryland farming in the 1940s and 1950s in southeast Alberta

Flower, David John

Titre : Survival and adaptation, an analysis of dryland farming in the 1940s and 1950s in southeast Alberta

Auteur : Flower, David John

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) 1997

Université de soutenance : University of Alberta

Résumé
The droughts of the 1920s and 1930s caused major problems for the dryland famers in southeast Alberta. Many left the land during these periods. By the 1950s, for those who remained and succeeded in adapting to the conditions, mere survival was no longer a problem. Many had prospered. As a result of government intervention through aid programs, the reestablishment of the Canadian Wheat Board, and new technological and scientific improvements, many of which were hastened by the technological progress precipitated by the war effort, dryland faming changed from being subsistence farming into the beginnings of extensive family faming operations. This historical geographical study examines the reasons for the changes and pays particular attention to those who survived. Through detailed analysis of precipitation statistics and soils ; through newspaper and local historical records ; and through interviews and surveys the study provides an explanation of the transition of a specific area of dryland faming from the survival of the late 1930s to the development of the 1950s. The principal conclusions of the study are that the dramatic change that took place in the 1940s and 1950s in the dry faming region of southeast Alberta was stimulated by the stabilization of wheat prices, the advance of technology as a result of the war, the development of improved varieties of wheat and the perseverance and determination of the ’survivors" to succeed.

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