Along with Ashley Gilbertson, Ed Kashi documented small farming communities in and around the western tip of the Oklahoma Panhandle and their current struggle against the worst drought the region has seen in fifty years. Located in the area of the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, towns like Clayton, NM, Dalhart, TX, Campo, CO, and all of Cimarron County, OK face the same battle pitting Mother Nature against the agricultural livelihood that has been fought by generations and generations of farmers.
As community members anxiously wait for rain, they hold onto hope and continue persevering through the hard times. Despite their future livelihood teetering on fickle weather forecasts, these small towns band together in an unbending sense of community, helping each other to maintain an optimistic outlook for tomorrow.
A cracked glass pane reflects the drought stricken landscape as Manny Encinias, 39, looks out over his herd of cattle in Clayton, New Mexico on July 29, 2013.
Scott Murdock walks through a dust storm on his farm near Felt, Okla. on August 1, 2013.
A bleached out skeleton lies before an abandoned home on drought stricken and blighted pasture lands near Felt, Okla. on July 29, 2013.
Youngsters meet together for bible study at the Felt United Methodist Church in Felt, Okla. on July 28, 2013.
Manny Encinias, 39, a beef cattle specialist with New Mexico State University, takes a break with his wife Hayley, 37, and daughters Mia, 9, and Elia, 6, on their family farm in Clayton, New Mexico on July 29, 2013.
Cattle rancher Casey Murdock, 43, surveys the spot where the famous Arthur Rothstein image of the great dust bowl in the 1930’s was made, which is now irrigated but still in its 9th year of drought, near Felt, Okla. on July 27, 2013.
Workers drill for water in Felt, Okla. on July 28, 2013. As a result of the drought, over-drilling for water is impacting the Oglala Aquifer levels.
Casey Murdock receives help in branding his cows on his ranch in Felt, Okla. on July 31, 2013.
Gnats swarm over a cow’s back, marked with a brand, at Casey Murdock’s ranch Felt, Okla. on July 31, 2013.
Mia Encinias, 9, handles her show cow on their family farm in Clayton, New Mexico on July 29, 2013.
Ranchers socialize together at the 5 States Livestock Auction in Clayton, New Mexico on July 31, 2013.
Casey Murdock works on his computer at home in Felt, Okla. on August 2, 2013.
Rancher Robert Thrash, 74, works with his youngest son on their drought stricken ranch in Felt, Okla. on August 2, 2013.
The Bartlett Grain Company lies abandoned and neglected in Boise City, Okla. on July 30, 2013.
Young boys gather together to hear results from the day’s events at the junior rodeo at XIT Rodeo in Dalhart, Texas on July 27, 2013.
Ranchers view potential livestock for sale at the 5 States Livestock Auction in Clayton, New Mexico on July 31, 2013.
A young boy approaches the concession stand at the XIT Rodeo in Dalhart, Texas on August 2, 2013.
Casey Murdock, 43, stands with his son Cash as he saddles up his horse for work at their farm in Felt, Okla. on July 30, 2013.
Casey Murdock’s brother and mother work together with his son Cash to herd his cows from the pasture to the barn, in Felt, Okla. on July 30, 2013.
Casey Murdock, 43, herds his cows on horseback from the pasture to the barn at his farm in Felt, Okla. on July 30, 2013.
Published on The New Yorker Photo Booth, October 2, 2013.
View the video piece here.