Canute, Okla., farmer Ron Whittenberg remembers when his cotton crop prospects helped him decide on boll weevil control.

"If my crop was a good one," he said, "I would use an insecticide to kill the weevils. But if the crop didn't look too good, it was not profitable to try to control them."

That was back in the days when the boll weevil nearly killed the U.S. cotton industry, particularly where dryland cotton production depended on how much rainfall was received each season.

Whittenberg served on the first Oklahoma Boll Weevil Eradication Association elected board of directors.  Today, with the end of boll weevil depredations in sight, he’s still a member of the Oklahoma board.

Getting farmers who were already suffering money problems to agree to support the eradication effort financially required a lot of mediation and persuasion, Whittenberg remembers. "We had some pretty spirited sessions," he said. "We persevered, however. Our board chairman, Jerry McKinley, was a good leader and kept everyone on target."