Chapter 13 Settling the West Section 2 Farming the Plains.

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Chapter 13Settling the WestSection 2Farming the PlainsGeography of the PlainsRegion extends westward to the Rocky Mountains from the central Dakotas through western TexasRainfall average is less than 20 inches per year.Geography of the PlainsHuge herds of buffalo once grazed on the prairie grasses of the Great PlainsGeography of the PlainsStephen Long explored the Plains with an army expedition in 1819.Called it the Great American Desert.Said it was unfit for farming.Beginnings of SettlementRailroads provided easy access to the plains.RR companies sold land along the lines at low prices and provided credit.Homestead Act (1862) For $10, a settler could file for homestead, tract of public land.Homesteader got up to 160 acres and could receive title of it after living there for 5 years.The Wheat BeltInventions and new farming methods made the Plains profitable.Dry farming planting seeds deep in the ground where there was enough moisture for them to grow.By the 1860s, farmers used steel plows, seed drills, reapers, and threshing machines.Steel PlowReaperThe Wheat BeltFarmers who plowed the soil on the Plains were called sodbusters.Many lost their farms due to drought, wind, and overuse.Wheat withstood drought better than any other crop.The Wheat Belt *dont write*Began at the eastern edge of the Plains and included much of the Dakotas and western parts of Nebraska and Kansas.Bonanza FarmsMuch larger than single-family farms and covered up to 50,000 acres.Closing the FrontierApril 22, 1889 government opened for settlement the land that later became Oklahoma.Within hours 10,000 people raced to stake claims in the Oklahoma Land Rush.1890 Census Bureau reported that the frontier was closing.End of Section 2Next: Section 3 Native Americans

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