Media mark the passing of ag giant J.G. Boswell
J.G. Boswell, the founder and head of the enormous family-owned farming concern J.G. Boswell Co., passed away last week at the age of 86. As an innovative cotton farmer in the San Joaquin Valley and influential advocate in land and water resource policy, Boswell's path often intersected with UC Cooperative Extension.
Boswell inherited the company when he was 29 from his uncle, also named J.G. Boswell, according to an obituary published today in the Los Angeles Times. His farm spans 150,000 acres near the San Joaquin Valley town of Corcoran. In addition to farming, the company conducted an innovative research and development program, producing more productive seeds and making technological improvements to his gins that boosted their capacity to 400 bales of cotton a day.
UC Davis agricultural economist Richard Howitt told the Times that Boswell was also an innovative water user, one of the first to employ lasers to level fields so that water flowed evenly and efficiently. Careful water management, including employing agronomists to determine when and how to water, allowed Boswell's farms to produce more cotton with less water than competitors, Howitt told Times reporter Jerry Hirsch. Many of Boswell's techniques were later adopted by other farms.
J.G. Boswell was a friend to UC Cooperative Extension. His company's foundation is listed as a major contributor to the 4-H program and it provided land for UC research projects, such as a study underway in the late 1990s to determine whether agricultural drainage water can be cleaned using flow-through wetlands, as described in this UC Cooperative Extension news release. These weren't his only philanthropic endeavors. In fact, the former country director for UC Cooperative Extension in Kings County, Bruce Roberts, is now an agronomy professor in the J.G. Boswell-endowed chair in plant science at California State University, Fresno.
Google News lists 51 media outlets including a news obituary about J.G. Boswell's death, including: