ISSUE DATE: 09/10/2012
By Jennifer M. Latzke
Jimmy and Susan Wedel don't consider themselves "radical environmentalists."
"I'm not a radical environmentalist, I'm a reasonable environmentalist," Jimmy Wedel said. It's that "reasonable environmentalism" that has the Wedels farming 3,700 acres of organic crops--including forage corn--near the Texas-New Mexico border in the southern Texas Panhandle.
A change in production
The Wedel family has been farming near Muleshoe, Texas, for three generations. Up until 1993 the operation was a typical conventional farming operation in the Panhandle with a rotation of cotton, wheat, and corn with a few other crops thrown into the mix.
But one pheasant and her nest changed all that.
Wedel told the story of how one day in the early 1990s his father had been applying a pesticide in a field near their house. As he was driving along he saw a pheasant hen sitting on a nest of eggs. He didn't want to disturb the nest, so he maneuvered around it in the field and continued applying the pesticide.
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