New Mexico was part of the historical dust bowl of the 1930s and 40s, the longest and most severe drought the United States had ever seen. New Mexico suffered from severe drought from the early 1930s to 1941 and again from 1942 to 1979. Although irrigation is used in many places, during this severe drought time, many farmers and their crops suffered.
Dryland farming was practiced in some areas, but the wheat production in the 1950's was the smallest it had been since the early 1900s. An increase in wells being drilled took place during this time to supplement the minimal surface water. Not only does drought affect the plant life in New Mexico, it also affects the wildlife and ecosystems which develop around the dependence of water.