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Old 07-14-2010, 08:36 PM
 
Location: Lower East Side, Milwaukee, WI
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flyingwriter View Post
Only if you consider the Great Plains the West. I think the Plains are much more like the Midwest. Nebraska, even Western Nebraska, has more in common with Iowa than it does with California or Nevada.
CA and the PNW are very different from the Mountain West. UT, NV, AZ, WY, MT, and ID are extremely conservative, just like KS NE, ND, and SD. Even CO and NM are both swing states with very libertarian leaning populations. Ranching is big in both the Great Plains and the Mountain West.
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Old 07-14-2010, 08:57 PM
 
Location: IN
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeStater View Post
Twelve states comprise the Midwest. The definition of "the West" is very, very nebulous. You could extend the "west" all the way to Saint Louis if you wanted to. As far as I can tell, your argument is that Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota should not be in the Midwest because the western halves of those states are too "western", which you base on climate and rainfall.

Kansas gets about 28 inches of rainfall annually at 98 degrees west. In good years, it can get more than 30 inches annually 98 degrees west. That is the same amount of rainfall that southern Minnesota/northern Iowa gets (and northern Michigan). Western Kansas gets about the same amount of rainfall as western Minnesota.

This is a rainfall map of the U.S. You will see how the annual rainfall drops off very strongly at the Montana/Wyoming/Colorado/New Mexico border. West of there is a true DESERT. East of there is drier, but still wet enough to grow crops without irrigation. Irrigation is just used in some areas because it improves yields. ND, SD, NE, and KS are MIDWEST, not west. They are the western edge of the Midwest.
Ah, but that is where climatology and meteorology is important. In the Upper Midwest that 25-30 inches of rainfall goes MUCH FURTHER compared to the Lower Midwest. Evaporation rates are much higher the farther south in latitude you go. Soil types are also a big determining factor as well. If you used the 15-20 inch demarcation line from Kansas stretching into South Dakota that is fairly close to where I would say the West begins. North Dakota is an outlier due to its more northern latitude and lower evaporation rates. They generally need a bit less precipitation during peak growing season due to a cooler climate.

"Irrigation is just used in some areas because it improves yields. ND, SD, NE, and KS are MIDWEST, not west. They are the western edge of the Midwest."

Irrigation is EXTREMELY PREVALENT in NE and KS, particularly in the western halves of both states. This is not an anomaly but a comonality. If you look at google maps you can clearly see the locational frequency of center pivots by geographical dispersion. Midwest agricultural core states like large areas of Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Ohio, Iowa, and Michigan have next to no irrigation at all. Large sections of the High Plains are abandoning their wells because it is cost prohibitive to drill deeper and suck even more water from the declining Ogalalla aquifer. They will revert to dryland agriculture... I am sure some of those wealthy farmers who received the biggest percentage of the agricultural subsidies made a quick buck on the passing ethanol craze- at the expense of conserving natural resources.
I still consider the High Plains region western overall- even though it has tried its hardest to be more like its more humid Midwest neighbor.
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Old 07-14-2010, 09:01 PM
 
Location: On the Great South Bay
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The Great Plains IS a major part of the lore of the Old West. Consider:

The Great Plains is where the famous herds of millions of bison and antelope once roamed. The Plains is where the pioneers crossed over the prairies in their covered wagons on the Oregon and Santa Fe Trails. The Plains is where Texas cowboys ran their herds of cattle up to Kansas on the Chisholm and the Great Western Trails. And the Plains where the Sioux (Lakota), Cheyenne, Kiowa, Arapaho and Pawnee once battled the US Cavalry and each other, for generations.

Unfortunately, these states tried to ignore their western frontier heritage and bill themselves as entirely safe civilized areas for farming. The Indians were wiped out or moved to reservations. Every wild animal was shot and every last acre was tilled. Unfortunately the result, with the exception of a few places like the Black Hills, Badlands and Dodge City, is a Great Plains that many people today consider fly-over farm country.
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Old 07-14-2010, 09:10 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GraniteStater View Post
Ah, but that is where climatology and meteorology is important. In the Upper Midwest that 25-30 inches of rainfall goes MUCH FURTHER compared to the Lower Midwest. Evaporation rates are much higher the farther south in latitude you go. Soil types are also a big determining factor as well. If you used the 15-20 inch demarcation line from Kansas stretching into South Dakota that is fairly close to where I would say the West begins. North Dakota is an outlier due to its more northern latitude and lower evaporation rates. They generally need a bit less precipitation during peak growing season due to a cooler climate.

"Irrigation is just used in some areas because it improves yields. ND, SD, NE, and KS are MIDWEST, not west. They are the western edge of the Midwest."

Irrigation is EXTREMELY PREVALENT in NE and KS, particularly in the western halves of both states. This is not an anomaly but a comonality. If you look at google maps you can clearly see the locational frequency of center pivots by geographical dispersion. Midwest agricultural core states like large areas of Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Ohio, Iowa, and Michigan have next to no irrigation at all. Large sections of the High Plains are abandoning their wells because it is cost prohibitive to drill deeper and suck even more water from the declining Ogalalla aquifer. They will revert to dryland agriculture... I am sure some of those wealthy farmers who received the biggest percentage of the agricultural subsidies made a quick buck on the passing ethanol craze- at the expense of conserving natural resources.
I still consider the High Plains region western overall- even though it has tried its hardest to be more like its more humid Midwest neighbor.
Your argument about evaporation rates has some validity. But if you look at the rainfall map, eastern Kansas still gets more rainfall than Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Michigan.

I think if a state is more than 50% Midwestern, it should be in the Midwest. Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota are all at least 50% Midwestern, with small western portions that are more western, so they should all be considered part of the Midwest.

Irrigation in NE and KS: They only use it because they can. Because the water is there. ND and SD don't have the deep aquifers, if they did, they would be irrigating too. They still grow dryland corn in western Kansas. It just doesn't get the high yields that the irrigated corn gets. So farmers like the irrigated corn because they make more money from higher yields.

Last edited by Blue Earth; 07-14-2010 at 09:19 PM..
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Old 07-14-2010, 10:40 PM
 
1,250 posts, read 2,117,296 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeStater View Post
Your argument about evaporation rates has some validity. But if you look at the rainfall map, eastern Kansas still gets more rainfall than Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Michigan.

I think if a state is more than 50% Midwestern, it should be in the Midwest. Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota are all at least 50% Midwestern, with small western portions that are more western, so they should all be considered part of the Midwest.

Irrigation in NE and KS: They only use it because they can. Because the water is there. ND and SD don't have the deep aquifers, if they did, they would be irrigating too. They still grow dryland corn in western Kansas. It just doesn't get the high yields that the irrigated corn gets. So farmers like the irrigated corn because they make more money from higher yields.
I wouldn't be so fixeted on state lines for this. I would consider any state that is more than 2/3rds part of a region and a more split state a border state. (althogh population distribution plays into this at times as well) I would consider the Western Midwest states really Border States along with Missouri in the Midwest since significant parts of those states are culturally some other region. (and the other parts have elements as well but not dominant) There are also parts of states not listed that do have Midwest aspects such as West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New York where places there have areas that resemble the Rust Belt.
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Old 07-14-2010, 11:01 PM
 
Location: Southern Minnesota
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You could call every Midwest state except Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota "border states," because all border other regions and have either Western, Southern, or Northeastern influence. You could even argue that extreme northern Michigan and Minnesota have more in common with sub-arctic Canada and Alaska than the rest of the Midwest.
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Old 07-14-2010, 11:15 PM
 
400 posts, read 868,969 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flyingwriter View Post
You could call every Midwest state except Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota "border states," because all border other regions and have either Western, Southern, or Northeastern influence. You could even argue that extreme northern Michigan and Minnesota have more in common with sub-arctic Canada and Alaska than the rest of the Midwest.
That's what I'm talking about! Every place becomes a "border" state when you break it down into all these subregions. What is so hard about defining the Midwest as the 12-state region from Ohio to Kansas, North Dakota to Michigan? It's a simple definition that everyone should be able to agree on. Then we can quibble about regions within that 12-state region like upper Midwest, lower Midwest, Great Plains, Great Lakes, etc.

Someone always has to argue about it.
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Old 07-14-2010, 11:32 PM
 
1,250 posts, read 2,117,296 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flyingwriter View Post
You could call every Midwest state except Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota "border states," because all border other regions and have either Western, Southern, or Northeastern influence. You could even argue that extreme northern Michigan and Minnesota have more in common with sub-arctic Canada and Alaska than the rest of the Midwest.
I would only call a state that if at least 1/3rd of the state is a different cultural region. If the Great Plains is a Midwest culture group then only Missouri could qualify as a Midwest Border State. Or another idea is to think of some states as "culturally-divided" where the differences in cultural makeup within the state is significant overall or if the culture is very hybridized. There are only a handful of states overall are this way if you go by that.

Or another idea is not to think of each macroregion as clear-cut since they rarely are. Each area has borders that are defined in part by being some level of mixture between broad and seperate macrocultures.

Personally I would just ignore states in all of this since most have regional subsets as well within a culture group. There are very few places where a state line is a dividing line of a cultural region. I notice terrain and climate-based boundaries are more important and correspond more than political boundaries in terms of culture.
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Old 07-15-2010, 09:05 AM
 
Location: Southern Minnesota
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Parts of Illinois are Deep South. Not just the South, but the Deep South. Parts of Illinois are Rust Belt/Central Midwest, even arguably Upper Midwest. That's a pretty big difference. IL is definitely a border state.
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Old 07-15-2010, 09:24 AM
 
Location: West Michigan
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Quote:
I would say with extensive experience that the western halves of the Great Plains states are FAR MORE Western than Midwestern without a doubt. Places like Rapid City, Scottsbluff, Dodge City, Dickinson, North Platte are far more Western overall.
I would tend to agree with this.

I spent a few days in Burdett, Kansas in February to visit some relatives. It felt much more western than midwestern. It's hard to explain, because it was mainly an agricultural area, just like rural Illinois or Indiana. Some of the crops grown were even the same (although, according to my cousin, the corn yields were very weak without using irrigation).

But it just felt like I was out west. There is something about the enormous sky, the gradually sloping landscape, the lack of trees, the nature of the settlements... it's just different. I would honestly say that it reminded me more of Colorado than it did Illinois.
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