Roger Haldenby Talks Lost Sea Cotton


Cotton in the ditch
Lorenzo, Texas

Hank Williams sang it. “Cotton on the roadside, cotton in the ditch, we all picked cotton but we never got rich….”. Today ex-crop duster Roger Haldenby explains High Plains cotton. Click here for the story and audio update….


Cotton in the ditch
Lorenzo, Texas

Traveling across the Lost Sea, the marine fossils underfoot change significantly from state to state. In Kansas, it was fossilized clams in fence posts. In South Dakota, it included mosasaurs..

Here in the Texas Panhandle, the roadsides are littered with white tufts of cotton. A few feet below mule Polly’s hooves, the creatures that died in the Lost Sea, or Western Interior Seaway, settled to the bottom and formed caliche.

With us today to make the connection is Roger Haldenby.


Roger Haldenby
Lorenzo, Texas

Roger’s name might sound familiar with some of you. For those of you who’ve read the book “Too Proud to Ride a Cow” available at the General Store he’s the character with the British accent and “the aura of a barn stormer who’d survived”.

Earlier this week, as mule Polly and I were traveling beside a cotton field along a farm to market road, whose car should pull up alongside my wagon? That’s right, Roger’s.


Roger with cotton plant

We visited a while and, cotton plant in hand, Roger explained High Plains cotton and the soil and water it thrived on – and how it all tied in with the Lost Sea.


Cotton bole

Roger’s point was this. Though cotton as a material hasn’t changed for hundreds of years, the way it’s grown sure has. To listen to Roger talking on the side of the road, click on the audio player below.

Field recording notes: This interview was recorded on the side of Texas Farm Road 380. Pardon any passing trucks or Sandhills cranes.

Thanks, Roger, for taking time for a roadside chat. Roger works for the Plains Cotton Growers Association. To visit them online click here.


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