Grasslands are located in the cool temperate zone, lying between the Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle in the Northern Hemisphere and the Tropic of Capricorn and the Antarctic Circle in the Southern Hemisphere.
Prairies are vast, flat and treeless areas located far away from the oceans. Thus, they have an extreme type of climate, i.e., the summers are hot and the winters are cold. It snows heavily during the winters. Trees do not grow as the rainfall is less.
The climate here is suitable for the growth of dense, tall grasses. There are hardly any trees.
Grazing animals like the bisons, stags and zebras are found in large numbers. Bisons which were found in large numbers in the prairies are almost extinct today because of indiscriminate hunting. Falcons, snakes, owls, eagles, etc., are found in large number.
The Mississippi and Missouri rivers along with their tributaries flow through the prairies. The rainfall is mostly in the spring season and there is some snowfall during the winter months. The farmers have now converted the grasslands into farmlands. Most of the farms are very big and stretch over thousands of hectares. The farmer with his family and a few workers lives on the farm. The entire work of tilling, ploughing, sowing, reaping and threshing is done with the help of big and powerful machines. Wheat is the main crop. This flat plain is also called the world’s wheat basket
The machines are of great help to the farmer in cultivating such huge farms. The work is done very fast. The farmers grow enough wheat not only for their own country, but also for other countries. Apart from wheat, farmers also grow barley, rye, oats and flax. The farmers lead a luxurious life.
The western part of the prairies is hilly, where the soil is shallow and less fertile. Rainfall is also scanty. Animal-rearing is more popular than farming. They have huge estates called ranches. The cattle here graze in the open grasslands. Big dairy farms with modern machines for milking the cows and doing other works have been developed. The cattle are also reared for beef. Cows are taken to the slaughterhouses, located in big cities, by special trains, Chicago, in the central part of the USA, is the most important centre for slaughtering animals.
As the farms in USA are very big and most of the work is done by machines, very few people work in the fields and in dairy farms. On every farm there are homesteads, which have houses, and sheds for machines and cattle. Their production is very high and the farmers are very rich. Most of the people live in big cities where they work in factories and offices.