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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Lauch Faircloth, July 16, 1999. Interview I-0070. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Faircloth derides antiquated mindsets

Faircloth derides the "antiquated mindset" of those who cannot face change and those who decry factory farming methods as cruel and unusual.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Lauch Faircloth, July 16, 1999. Interview I-0070. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

JM: What do you make of these complaints that are presented in criticisms of contemporary farming that the nature of the local farm community has changed? It sounds like you weren't too sentimental about that community. LF: Of course, to hell it's changed. It's changed dramatically. I don't know. These people that are opposed to the change, I don’t know what they want to go back to. Why don't we take the land between Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill and put it back into tobacco farms? [We could] clean all those buildings out and start building four acres of tobacco in little hillside patches. That would be wonderful to return to that way of life. How many want to return? We ought to really clean all those trashy buildings and things out and put those farms back like they were. JM: Let me ask you the fortunes of tobacco across – well, if we can pick up the story with the first Surgeon General report, I suppose. LF: Oh, you can pick it up anywhere. What I think I see in so many people is a refusal to face change. They want to imagine a segment of society to which they are not involved moving and remaining as they read about it in the fifth grade. They want themselves to have moved and the immediate society that they are involved in to have evolved into a new society, but they want that society they are not involved in to be exactly as they read about it in the fifth grade. The old woman in the shoe. The pig wouldn't get over the style. The fox eating the chickens. Bucolic trips to the beach down sylvan lanes. Massive miles of beach with one hotdog stand that only opens for two months out of the year. This is the way it was read about in the book. It doesn’t stay that way. There had to be a massive change in farming. My father must've had, at one time, five hundred people planting and harvesting a crop that twenty-five would do today and spend a month at the beach each. What would you do with those people today? They're fighting the evolution of farming. Now, not one of them has ever said -- I don't mean this to be racist -- that people should rip their suits and ties off and take a sack and go down the road picking cotton. If you wanted to do away with -- take an item -- the cotton picker [machine], you could eliminate employment in the United States tomorrow. There would be none because it would take every person you could find to pick enough cotton to make the consumption we use today. But these same people for some reason [think] the chicken raised in a thirty acre field is somehow a healthier chicken. [The chicken] that picks up bugs and dead animals and eats them, is a much healthier chicken than one that moves through a house fed a formula that changes daily as his weight changes. [The formula is] balanced far better than what they ever ate in their life as to proteins and carbohydrates. There is not a person in this country that eats as balanced a diet as we feed hogs everyday. We adjust that formula every three days. [We] micromanage it for fiber to the epitome of the diet, to vitamins, to--. Yet there's some kind of antiquated mindset that that's bad. [There is the mindset] that an animal raised in “the wild” is better than one that is heated and air-conditioned and never suffered a moment in its life. They say this and you go, “Absolutely.” It makes nice cookout and cocktail party talk, but the reality of it is that they have no idea what they are talking about. The easiest cow to raise in the world -- we've had them, we've had a lot of them -- are longhorns. They are tough. They can eat anything under the sun. They can have a calf and never even slow down walking. He'd jump up and catch his mother and nurse. Flies don't bother them. They don’t have diseases. They are wonderful, except you can't give the son of a bitch away. There's no fat on him. He's fat free. I mean, there is not enough fat in there. There isn't any fat on a longhorn. Wouldn't that sound like an ideal animal? Except, try to sell it in a restaurant. That is tough, stringy beef and they send it back. I took the bait. I thought it sounded so good. It was devastating. You couldn't give them away. Nobody wants them.