The Arkansas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation made its final payment in September on the debt it incurred eradicating the boll weevil from the state’s cotton acres.
The announcement was a milestone not only because the ABWEF paid off the $2 million three years early and saved thousands in interest but because it also represented the culmination of years of hard work.
No one knows what would have happened if the weevil had not been wiped out, but it’s a good bet the cotton acreage in the five Mid-South states would be even smaller than it is today due to low cotton prices.
It wasn’t always pretty – the eradication programs seemed to get off to a rocky start no matter which region they were in. But the end result represented the best of the public-private partnerships that have helped the USA move ahead of the competition in agriculture and many other areas.
As this is being written, a group in Congress is threatening to shut down the government over budget issues again. After he announced he was resigning, House Speaker John Boehner put together enough votes from Democrats and Republicans to pass a continuing resolution funding the government into October and November.
That won’t be the end of it, of course. The same group is expected to hold the country hostage to their demands in December when another budget deadline approaches, and, if it’s not defunding Planned Parenthood, they’ll come up with another issue.
When you look at the political landscape today, it’s difficult to imagine this is the same country where leaders risked everything to declare independence from England, where millions of immigrants boarded ships for America, knowing they would never see their homeland again, where citizens invested billions of dollars in railroads, highways, river ports to make this the greatest nation on earth.
You have to wonder if some who are shouting the loudest today had been in office then if we wouldn’t all be living in hovels in Europe or clinging to the shore in New England or Virginia, afraid to venture past the village border or risk putting a new trail into the wilderness.
They certainly would never have attempted to eradicate the boll weevil.