From a full-length article run in the Texas Observer, Texas.
Through the windows of LaRhea Pepper’s pickup, turnrows of blooming Texas cotton stretched to the horizon under an impeccably blue sky. We barreled down a dirt road toward her brother-in-law Carl’s farm, a tall cloud of dust kicking up behind us. Around LaRhea’s neck, a tiny bale of cotton at the end of a silver chain bounced as she maneuvered the dips in the road. “Help yourself to some pecans,” she said, pointing to a Ziploc bag in the cup holder. Her cellphone rang, and the Addams Family theme song filled the cabin. When LaRhea finished the call, I asked why she had decided to join a class-action lawsuit against biotechnology giant Monsanto. In 2012, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimated that more than 90 percent of the genetically modified seed planted in Texas contained the Roundup Ready gene—the intellectual property of Monsanto.