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The Great Depression

Daily Life on the Farm

History >> The Great Depression

Daily life on the farm during the Great Depression was a tough life full of hard work and few luxuries. Many farmers had been having a tough time since before the Depression due to overproduction and plunging prices. Farmers in the Midwest had it especially difficult when years of drought and dust storms hit them during the Depression.

What did they eat?

One advantage to living on a farm during the Great Depression is that farmers could grow their own food. They had vegetables, eggs, and milk that sometimes were tough to come by in the city. They even had meat occasionally from sheep, cattle, or pigs.

What did they wear?

Since farmers couldn't make a lot of money selling their crops, they had to make their own clothes in many cases. They also made the most of the material they had. When a piece of clothing or a sheet wore out, the leftovers would be sewn together to make new clothing or a blanket. Nothing went to waste.

What did they do for fun?

Farm life was mostly hard work just to get by, but they did occasionally have fun. Farming families would gather together for dances or potluck dinners. Kids would play outdoor games like kick-the-can and baseball. At night, families would gather around the radio to listen to the news or shows like The Lone Ranger and Amos 'n' Andy.

Did the kids still go to school?

Some farm kids attended school during the Great Depression. In some rural areas the school was just a single room with a number of grades being taught by the same teacher. Children often had to walk a long way to school. This became dangerous during the winter months and during dust storms. Even when the children were in school, they still had hours of chores to do each day on the farm.

Dust Storms

When drought hit the Midwest during the Great Depression, the soil turned into dust. Farmers in this region couldn't grow crops because there wasn't enough water. To make matters worse, great dust storms formed in the area covering everything in dust. Dust got everywhere and made life very difficult.


With the drought and the dust storms, many farmers in the Midwest could not grow crops and they lost their farms. They heard that there was work in California. Thousands of families began the long trip to California hoping to find work.

Was life bad for everyone?

Although it wasn't easy, many farmers were able to survive during the Great Depression. They managed to grow and sell enough crops to pay their mortgages and keep their farms. These farmers were usually located in areas of the country that weren't hit by drought and dust storms.

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Works Cited

History >> The Great Depression

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