It seems to me that the problem with the BWERAD program is the same as
with many (most) other public projects. It is merely a question of
emminent domain. The question is not whether some will be made worse
off, but will the project on the whole be beneficial.
Its the same question for new roads, parks, etc. The organic cotton
people should not waste energy trying to stop the BW program, but should
concentrate on looking to document how much compensation it would take to
recover any losses they may have from being unable to produce organic
cotton. However, they should keep in mind that they probably will be
expected to take whatever steps they can to mitigate any damages -
whether that includes alternative crop production or what - so they just
can't sit back and expect the gov't to pay what their crop would sell for.
There are going to be 16 million acres of cotton in the US this year. A
large portion is already in the "eradicated" zone (and I know there are
weevils in the eradicated zone, so don't bug me about this definition).
Do you organics really think that this investment will be jeopardized by
a couple of thousand acres of organic production???
If so, I doubt you are running on a full tank of gas.
Here in Alabama, we have a couple of organic vegetable producers right
down the road from some cotton. It seems they were real upset about
having several pounds of malathion (which, I'm sure you know, is just
another name for dioxin ;-> )sprayed on their farm. They didn't go
ballistic, but worked with the BWERAD folks and got them to use ground
spraying equipment near their farm. Worked out real well, they didn't
lose their organic status, and probably got some peripheral bug control
Isn't it amazing what a little non-confrontational negotiation can
As far as the environment goes, cotton producers here used to spray about
twice a week for the weevil, with a heavy organophosphate. They also had
to control other bugs. Post-eradication, they only have to control the
other bugs (which is hard) by using 3-5 sprays of pyrethroids (a
synthetic version of a naturally occurring insecticide) PER YEAR.
Chemical use has been drastically cut.
As far as cost-benefit goes, it will depend on how long it lasts, which
will depend on who cooperates and a bunch of other stuff. But right now,
it sure looks good.
------- end of forwarded message -------