during the years 1935 to 1937 there was a significant drought that hit the arid and semiarid regions of northwestern argentina, as well as from mexico and the united states. this note discusses the impact of this environmental event on the economy and society of santiago del estero, which marks a before and an after in its agricultural history. until that year was consolidated on agroforestry model emerged between 1880-1900, which combined obraje", la finca and peasant economy. the great drought was followed two failed crops and cattle stock decreased cattle and goats by 80%. this had catastrophic consequences in a rural society, whose diet depended heavily on their own production, most notably triggering famine in the contemporary history of this province. among the many consequences of this drought, we study their effects on population, economics and public policy. state initiatives were sparse and late, and could not contain the problems of thousands of families facing hunger and social deprivation. this regional drama became a national dimension through the print and broadcast media, which in the last months of 1937 initiated a large-scale solidarity campaign. the exodus has opened a path of migration to the industrial zones of berisso, ensenada and buenos aires. the drought has also spurred the construction of levees los quiroga (1949) and the dam reservoir of rio hondo (1968). the literature also included this issue as a symbol of peasant drama in the collective imagination.