“This land, this red land, is us; and the flood years and the dust years and the drought years are us. We can't start again.” – John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath.
Dust rolls across the parched plains as dry wind kicks up. The land is desolate, bare and desperate. Not too long ago, this was the story across most of the United States. And while many region’s drought stricken thirsts have been quenched, there are still areas in dire conditions.
“Not a single cattle producer hasn’t been impacted by drought in one way or another,” radio host and documentary producer Steffan Tubbs said as he addressed attendants at the 2014 Summer Cattle Industry Conference in Denver.
The San Diego native has a strong interest in agriculture spurred by his ties to his family’s farm. Now a resident of Denver, he’s kept track of the drought conditions within the U.S., particularly in southeastern Colorado. This prompted the creation of his latest documentary project, Droughtland.
“Severe, life-altering drought conditions face farmers, ranchers and residents living in southeastern Colorado. This 45-minute documentary focuses on the devastating conditions, described by many as being worse than the dust bowl era of the 1930’s. Long-time residents who depend on water now question their futures. Hear about the under-publicized issue in an area one rancher describes as ‘the other Colorado.’ And learn about the ramifications of what drought means to families and an entire region in the Rocky Mountain west,” summarized Droughtland.com.
According to Tubbs, the documentary will be released this fall with a goal to reach one million viewers by the end of the first year through film festivals, PBS broadcasts, YouTube channels and other outlets to educate those who watch it over the severity of drought conditions on agriculture and their wellbeing.
“The stories do a good job of representing what you as cattle producers are all going through,” said Tubbs.