The Missouri Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (MASWCD) serves as the voice for Missouri’s 114 soil and water conservation districts on state legislative issues. It also provides a forum for training, policy-making, and the exchange of information.
MASWCD’s Mission is to promote the conservation of soil and water resources, and assume active leadership in promoting conservation education in the state.
“Sockless Jerry” Simpson, an early day Kansas Senator, is credited with the statement that, within a two hundred fifty mile circle with Kansas city the center, a greater variety of crops could be grown than in any other similar spot on earth. His boundary does not take in the Missouri Bootheel, but should, as the vast fertility of that region with its crops of cotton and rice, could only add to the statement.
The economics of a booming wheat market and the notion that soil was an inexhaustible resource had pushed agriculture to its limits in the 1920’s. Through the Twenties and Thirties, the hillsides were becoming denuded of top soil, scarred by gullies, and production sharply declined. Some land was abandoned to broom sedge, elm sprouts and tickle grass. To top it off, we had the big, black dust blows of hot, dry 1934 and1936. The wind lifted that inexhaustible resource in dark, billowing sheets that blotted out the sun. The biggest of all dust storms arrived on “Black Sunday,” April 14, 1935, and stayed for about 50 seconds. The Dust bowl is much more than a geographic area, the term itself has become synonymous with poverty, waste, and despair. But, it has come to symbolize more, something positive as well. The Dust Bowl was the catalyst behind a 60-year endeavor in farming: soil conservation.