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An old farm neighbor and friend passed this week, too soon, well before any of us who loved him were ready to let him go. Like my brother Alan, who walked on a couple of years ago, Dennis Fuller was only 67 years old. We were farm boys together in the 1960s. We played softball during Vacation Bible School behind the church in Loyd, Wisconsin. We hunted mushrooms, fished and swam in Willow Creek, picked black berries and apples, wrestled and played football for Ithaca.

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A new disease-resistant potato called “CIP-Matilde” has been released by the International Potato Center and the Crop Trust. It was developed by farmers, breeders and scientists in Peru who identified wild potatoes with resistance to disease. Breeders then incorporated the resistance into cultivated varieties. The new potato withstands late blight, a disease that can destroy a potato crop in a matter of weeks.

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Randy Norton remembers the days 20 years ago when there were 60 to 70 cotton farmers in the Gila Valley. Nowadays, he said 10 families grow 90 percent of the cotton. That number might even be lower if not for the special relationship farmers have with cottonseed producers.

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Karen Geldmacher of Americot and Denver Householder check out the competition's cotton plants.

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Brandon Jones of Duncan checks out a boll of cotton.

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Brandon Jones, who grows cotton in Duncan and Virden, N.M. checks out how many seeds there are in a boll.