Family farm turning cotton fields into denim to make profit

Family farm turning cotton fields into denim to make profit

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LAMESA, Texas -

For most farmers in West Texas, producing cotton is all they know.

However, the king crop nearly put hundreds of producers out of business with a harvest reportedly down 20% in yield.

That unpredictability is why Eric Herm and his family decided to turn fields of cotton into denim — creating a new, stable opportunity to provide on the farm.

"We wanted to control our own destiny because like this year, we just had to collect insurance on it. So we put enough bales aside to survive a two or three year period to start this business, anticipating that you don't make a profit on a cotton crop every year on dryland farming in West Texas," Eric Herm said.

He said this year’s underwhelming harvest made him realize it was time to evolve as a farmer — or go broke.

"I don't feel like I can do what my dad and what my grandads did, and just feel okay surviving economically on the farm. I think you need multiple streams of revenue and not just be a one-trick pony like we were for decades," Eric Herm said.

Eric’s wife Jennie helped him come up with the idea to make denim products out of cotton.

She said it’s another revenue stream for the family farm because it has proven application in West Texas.

“Our cotton is so well suited for denim. It’s got a short staple on it. It works really well in a woven product, so we thought we would start utilizing some of the resources we had to turn cotton into denim,” Jennie Herm said.

She said it also brings back the idea of creating homegrown products and not shipping cotton overseas, adding denim is a symbol of American culture.

By being more than just the producer of the cotton, Eric said it not only keeps the product here in the U.S. but it also gives his family financial security.

"I got tired of everybody else making money off our cotton crops, and here we are putting in the blood, sweat, and tears, making bare minimum some years just enough to pay the bills. So this was a way to actually create that change that we feel we need to make as farmers to become a bigger piece of the pie rather than just letting everyone else take it," Eric Herm said

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