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Larhea Pepper

O'Donnell | Farmer

Together with her husband Terry Pepper, LaRhea Pepper farms 960 acres in dryland organic cotton near the Panhandle town of O’Donnell, Texas, avoiding genetically-modified seed and chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and relying on crop rotations, cover crops and compost to maintain soil fertility, naturally-occurring lady beetles and lacewings to control pests, and North Texas’ hard freezes to defoliate cotton plants for harvest. Mrs. Pepper has also been active in helping create the processing, distribution and markets to support organic cotton farmers, which still represent only 1/10 of 1% of all cotton planted in the U.S.. In the early 1990s, she co-founded the Texas Organic Cotton Marketing Co-op, to ensure an adequate supply of raw fiber to the industry, and organized two firms to convert this fiber into finished products ready for sale: Cotton Plus and Organic Essentials. Cotton Plus exists to buy back farmers’ ginned cotton and to contract spinning and weaving into prints, plaids, flannels and other fabrics. Organic Essentials sells organic cotton personal care products, such as cotton balls, swabs, rounds and tampons.

Interview Information

October 12, 2002
O'Donnell, Texas
Reel 2242

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Rich Media

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