Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Texan worth talking about

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Otis Fuller while visiting the town of Beeville. As you can tell from the article below, which is posted online at, Fuller was the mastermind behind an invention that has met the needs of many domestic and international farmers and consumers. In fact, it is estimated that half the world’s vegetables are planted using Fuller’s original design.

In today’s fast-paced society, this amazing Texan who is helping feed people all over the world just isn’t receiving the recognition he deserves.

Thank you, Otis Fuller, for making the world a better place.

Quit complaining with your mouth full

by Jeff Latcham

When Otis Fuller’s friends think of him, it’s likely his wicked sense of humor that stands out about the avid sportsman.

But as an article in the Oct. 24 Bee-Picayune illustrated, his legacy will be more about feeding the world than playing practical jokes. It was some 18 years ago that a Valley onion grower asked Fuller if he could develop a planter to produce four seed rows to a bed.

Fuller came up with a design and built a prototype with his crew here in his Beeville tractor shop. He recalls making 13 trips down to the Valley to tweak his creation. The result was so successful, more orders came pouring in and Fuller contacted Monoseum about producing his planter design. Two decades later, an estimated half of the world’s vegetables are planted with Fuller’s design. Think about that.

Now capitalism is under fire in America and drawing plenty of wrath, particularly from politicians who ultimately are making a push for socialism. It is fashionable among liberals to proclaim capitalism dead after the mutant investment banks of Wall Street spun Congress’ own subprime loan creation into an economic meltdown. Yet here in Beeville, we have an excellent example of how capitalism spurs mankind’s best creative juices.

This planter that feeds half the world wasn’t invented behind the Iron Curtain in the old U.S.S.R. or the Bamboo Curtain in the People’s Republic of China; yet in Russia, it’s now used to plant cabbage and in China to plant carrots. It was developed by a man trying to make a sale to a customer and, in the process, make a profit. Sorry if that offends the idealist, but it goes directly to human nature and there’s really nothing wrong with that.

We all benefit because Otis Fuller benefited. So the next time you enjoy a salad, or a side of vegetables, there’s a pretty good chance they began with the fertile mind of Otis Fuller fueled by good ol’ American capitalism.

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