The drought of the past two years is at least as bad as the one that caused the Dust Bowl. So why isn't there a Dust Bowl now?

Oklahoma State Rep. Don Armes, R-Faxon, and J. Kirk Schreiner, district conservationist for Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) say it's because people today have learned how to be better stewards of the soil.

"Had it not been for conservation practices that we use today, that we've evolved, we would have the same scenario," Armes said. "We know more about holding soil."

No-till farming on sandy soil has helped to solve a lot of the dust problems, Schreiner said.

The Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) has made a believer of Armes, who signed up for it 2 years ago to deal with a mesquite infestation on the 160 acres where he and his wife, DeDe, live.

The scrubby-looking trees dominated 80 percent of the spread when the former Lawton High School ag teacher bought it in 1999.

"You're never going to completely beat mesquite trees, but you can sure get a-hold of them," Armes said.