of fuel and farm equipment have doubled. “Some guy told me we were stupid to drive our tractors in the caravans, with all the wear and tear,” recalls to C Dowdy. “I told him that I could have put that tractor on the highway every week of last year and still would have lost less money than I did with it in the field.” Mike McGrath John Edmiston is on the staff of the” Paris News. Ralph Brock grew up in the farming community of Tahoka and now practices law in Lubbock. Freelancer Mike McGrath lives in Austin. Grace Piper helps her husband run a stock farm outside of Paducah. Former journalist Jim Greenwood farms in Vernon. 6 MARCH 3, 1978 M:* ftwak..30 umv.Rmotssimft,:lkwa.m.z. mmts.*.: ,…gay.woomsm s8 m :m .;. twstavm, ,\\.%3s’ mw-ftstiftwok,wwsw . tion and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce joining in. Farmer David Lindsey, Lamar County AAM spokesman, said he found the Campbell’s Soup people interested and, at least, willing to listen. The USDA people, on the other hand, weren’t able to answer many of Lindsey’s questions”I’m just an old country boy,” Lindsey said. “Any questions I ask shouldn’t be that difficult to answer.” The four Paris-area farmers came out of the three-hour session feeling optimistic that the corporate officials would act in good faith. Joe Donald Mashburn said he had found the Campbell’s executives “very cooperative . . . they’ve done everything they can to help us.” Lindsey said the company agreed to purchase domestic beefif farmers could supply the kind it wants. He said that the foreign beef Campbell’s uses comes from tough threeor four-year-old steers, meat that doesn’t fall apart during large-scale processing and cooking. Most domestic beef is grain-fed and marbled with fat, which Campbell’s says is unsuitable for its needs. Lindsey, however, seems confident that American producers can provide a steady supply of canner-quality beef. The farmers apparently were less suc Farmers rally at the Campbell’s Soup plant cessful in their effort to persuade the firm to buy its vegetable ingredients locally. For a short while after the move to Paris, Campbell’s ran experimental growing plots along the Red River and contracted with some local farmers to grow potatoes, onions and tomatoes. Corporate officials say, however, that the efforts to grow vegetables in the Paris area were unsuccessful. High temperatures, short harvest periods, and irrigation needs were cited as the major drawbacks. However, one farmer with land along the Red River commented that the firm did not help local growers as much as it could have. Campbell’s counters that while it does not work now with vegetable growers in Lamar in Paris. County, it does buy Texas produce “We have continued our crop research in other areas of Texas,” a company spokesman said, “including the High Plains and the Rio Grande Valley, where we do currently obtain substantial quantities of our ingredients used at the Paris plant.” What finally will come of the confrontation between the farmers and the soup company is uncertain, but there’s no doubt Campbell’s takes the farm strike seriously. Sam Hall currently is setting up a second meeting between the two parties over the beef issue, this one for sometime in March, either in Paris or Mount Pleasant. John Edmiston Coming down on the Avalanche-Journal Lubbock The farmer uprising had already produced boycotts of businesses in Amarillo and Plainview, but when the tractors began to converge on Lubbock just before Christmas, it was too much for the town’s arch-conservative newspaper to bear. “In adopting the anti-social tactics of union goons,” editorialized the Lubbock Avalance-Journal on Dec. 16, “a relatively small number of ‘striking’ farmers seems bent on destroying whatever consumer sympathy is in their corner.” Farmers took the “goon” reference personally, and when the American Agriculture Movement rumbled into town on Dec. 20, they headed straight for the paper to collect an apology and an endorsement of their goals. By midnight, some 2,000 farmers and 115 tractors had surrounded the Avalanche-Journal’s printing plant, holding it under siege for more than four hours and delaying distribution of its morning edition. About 30 farmers were arrested, and five were jailed. The rest finally rode away, but not before they had flushed out both the paper’s manager and its editor to apologize in person. In a self-serving front-page article the following morning, Dec. 22, the besieged paper passed off the incident as an unfortunate misunderstandingthe earlier editorial was merely intended as a warning against adopting the goon tactics, the editors claimed, and the paper hadn’t really meant to call the farmers “goons” at all. The Avalanche-Journal’s editor, Jay Harris, said that farmers have no greater friend in Texas than the Avalanche-Journal. Ralph H. Brock A-J publisher Robert Norris meets erstwhile “goons.”
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