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Sticking cotton where the sun don’t shine

I never cease to be amazed at the ingenuity, and the entrepreneurism, shown by the farmers whom I’ve had the privilege of interviewing over the years.

It makes me think, as I watch news report after news report of the Gulf oil spill — some farmer somewhere surely has come up with a strategy to solve this environmental disaster. Maybe it’s because farmers confront so many problems in a typical day during the growing season. Whatever the reason, they’re able to instinctively come up with a quick and viable solution to keep things running on time.

In my mind’s eye, I have this picture of a farmer, slumped over a work bench in a dimly lit shed, sketching out a plan that will end this catastrophe once and for all. And I have full confidence that any farmer’s plan would stand a better chance of succeeding than the comedy of errors we’ve witnessed up to now.

Though he’s not a farmer, a Fort Myers, Fla., man, Gary Miller, has proposed to BP that cotton bales be packed into pipes that would run into the leaking oil rig, thereby creating a clot and stopping the flow of oil. Miller, who is in the lawn beautification business, says he has tested the idea with a half-inch PVC pipe and a leaky low-pressure sprinkler. I wouldn’t be surprised if Duct Tape isn’t somehow involved. After submitting the plan to BP, company officials reportedly have contacted Miller and asked him for a further explanation.

If you have an idea, whether it involves farm products or not, please share it. You never know, and those of us who enjoy an occasional trek to the sugar sand beaches of Alabama and Florida would be forever grateful.

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