Excessive and prolonged heat and drought, relentless swarms of insects, and what seemed to be a biblical plague of jackrabbits who were scouring the land for food, made farm life very difficult for many in the Rocky Mountain states during the Great Depression. 1936, the year this photograph was made, was considered to be the most challenging in Idaho's history. Merely sustaining one’s farm required ingenuity, hard work, a simplified lifestyle and a lot of good luck.
Many farms didn’t have heat, electric lights or indoor bathrooms. Typically, farm families raised most of their own food – eggs and chickens, milk and beef from their own cows. Some raised sheep for meat and wool and kept bees for honey. Everybody had a vegetable garden and put- up canned goods for the winter. When times got lean, farm families raised rabbits to put meat on the dinner table. Unlike city folks, farm families were less likely to go hungry.
Government programs helped many farmers make it through the 1930s. The Agricultural Adjustment Act, the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Resettlement Administration, which became the Farm Security Administration, the Soil Conservation Service, and the Rural Electrification Administration directly supported farm life. These were just a few of President FDR’s New Deal agencies that supported rural communities during the Great Depression.