THE PERSONAL RESPONSE
The personal response by farmers to the Dust Bowl and the farming crisis in the 1930s was influenced by gender. Farm families sought every possible way to survive. Women usually acted individually, seeking innovations in farm management and sales. Farm women cut their budgets and produced more food; they tried raising new plants and animals, particularly poultry; and they took additional jobs, frequently teaching, to supplement the family's income. As Mabel Hickey McManus of Lyman County, South Dakota, found, the Great Depression forced an alteration of traditional female farm roles.
Men tended to band together. Farm activism has a strong institutional tradition, and many male and some female farmers joined existing organizations or formed new ones. Of the latter group, the Farmers' Holiday Association was the most instantaneous, and it provided an institutional umbrella under which farmers with a variety of ideologies could pursue the cause of agrarian survival. In the rush to prevent foreclosures and to push farm prices up, farmers took