Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Boswell, Big Farmer, Corporate Farmer?

The LATimes has an article on the death of James G. Boswell, the California cotton farmer. I remember Boswell from the 1970's, when he was the bulletin board star of the people who attacked big subsidies. He owned 150,000 or 200,000 acres of San Joaquin valley land, growing cotton.
"But even during this period of growth and success for the enterprise, which included diversification into tomatoes and other crops, real estate development and farming in distant Australia, Boswell remained an intensely private man at the head of an intensely private family business."
So, if it's a "family business" it must be a "family farm", no? (His son takes over.) Was Wal-mart a family business, or Mars candy? Was IBM a family business when young Tom Watson replaced his father? Was "Bonanza" a family farm, or at least a family ranch? I don't think so, but it's an interesting continuum.


Megan said...

Have you read Kings of California? Very good read about the cotton empires in the southern San Joaquin.

Bill Harshaw said...

Nope--just checked and didn't find it in the Fairfax library. I'll keep it in mind. On my one visit to Fresno County ASCS Office (the closest I ever got to that area) it was obvious I wasn't in Kansas or upstate New York anymore. :-)