Cotton Links

- Editor's Note -

Farmers Have Always Protected
The Land

By Tommy Horton

As you can tell by the cover photo on the magazine, we’re spotlighting an interesting topic this month, and everybody seems to have an opinion on it. In fact, if you’re looking for a hot button issue that strikes a nerve out in the country, try telling a farmer that he isn’t taking care of the land. Of all the criticisms that the mainstream media and environmentalists direct toward agriculture, this might be the most nonsensical and bizarre – and the one that hurts the most.

It seems that no matter how effective agriculture rebuts the critics, some folks simply don’t get it. That’s what is known as “having an agenda.” And we know lots of groups out there who have them. These so-called informed experts would have no problem taking us back to the Stone Age and shutting down the world’s most efficient agricultural system here in the United States.

Agriculture’s environmental critics are everywhere, and often they are found at major daily newspapers. Recently, we read one of the most slanted, downright vicious attacks in the editorial pages of the Los Angeles Times. The author was Daniel Imhoff who was given a lot of space to trash the Farm Bill and anyone who grew cotton, rice and soybeans in California.

Imhoff’s exact words were as follows: “What can we citizens expect if the proposed Farm Bill is signed into law? Federally-subsidized feed – corn, soybeans and cottonseed – for animal factory farms that spread disease, greenhouse gases and dangerous working conditions wherever they set up shop...The continuation of America’s obesity campaign, which ensures the cheapest and most widely available foods are made up of such high-calorie ingredients as high-fructose corn syrup, refined flours, saturated fats and unhealthy meat and dairy products. And more federally-backed exports of California’s water – in the form of cotton and rice, mostly sold overseas.”

See what I mean?

Who could’ve thought farmers would be criticized for causing obesity in America? Where does the blame game stop and common sense enter into the discussion? Have no fear. There might be a solution. We suggest that Mr. Imhoff have a conversation with the four cotton producers featured on pages 12, 13 and 14. After chatting with Harris Armour (Tennessee), Jimmy Webb (Georgia), Danny May (Texas) and Ted Sheely (California), we think he might gain a greater appreciation for these farmers’ effective environmental practices.

Maybe that’s hoping for too much. But we also know that our cotton farmers have a story to tell, and they’d be glad to share it with anyone willing to listen.

If you have comments, send them to: Editor, Cotton Farming Magazine, 5118 Park Ave., Suite 111, Memphis, Tenn., 38117. Or send e-mail to: thorton@onegrower.com.

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