Answer to Question #156224 in History for Chris

Question #156224

Describe the issues faced by some of the people who tried take advantage of the Homestead Act. 

Expert's answer

As homesteaders and settlers started acquiring the land they received by the Homestead Act, they faced various issues. The cause of the setbacks was the availability of a few building materials, land being difficult to farm, harsh weather, and also insects. The main reason that led to difficulty in farming the land was due to the region being much drier in comparison to the eastern sides of the United States. Altitude and climate in the area favored low-value crops and shorter growing seasons. Hence could not compete in the market with those in farther east.  Precipitation was also little which required crops to be irrigated, this was not practical for small lots. The area was also bare and with no trees hence wind greatly damaged the crops. Additionally, the 160 acres of land that was allocated to homesteaders was not sufficient for them to succeed independently as farmers.

As a result of this, many families abandoned the homesteads and moved back to the East. Despite the failure of many farms, some managed to benefit by hiring additional labor. Still, the laborers working in these farms were hard-pressed while working in an environment that was unforgiving while enduring violent weather shifts, arid land, and other challenges.  

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