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Starting in June of 1934, the program ran until late January of 1935 with the government eventually purchasing almost 8.3 million head of livestock providing $111 million in payments to the livestock owners and their creditors...
I certainly remember the telling of the tales in later years about the livestock slaughter program. My parents and grandparents took their oldest milk cows and an older bull to the government buying station to be sold and slaughtered. I recall the carcasses were buried in a local caliche pit.
It is simply not true that some purchased livestock were driven over cliffs for slaughter, though tales still survive along that line.


In June of 1934, almost as a last resort, Congress authorized a Drought Relief Service for purchasing drought-stricken cattle. Depending on weight and condition, the agency would pay $4 to $8 for calves, $10 to $15 for yearlings, with cows, big steers and bulls bringing $12 to $20. Those in the worst condition were killed immediately and buried while others were sent to packing plants for slaughter.

Date program started 




June 1934


Drought Relief Service