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A Tribute To The Life Of James Griffin Boswell Ii

Rep. Jim Costa

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Madam Speaker, I rise today along with my colleagues from the House, Mr. Nunes and Mr. Radanovich, and from the Senate, Mrs. Feinstein to pay a special tribute to the life of an agricultural icon of California, Mr. James Griffin Boswell II of Indian Wells, California. James passed away on April 3, 2009 at the age of 86. He is survived by his wife Barbara Wallace Boswell, three children and several grandchildren.

Mr. James Griffin Boswell was born on March 10, 1923 in Greensboro, Georgia to William Whittier Boswell, Sr. and Kate Hall Boswell. James graduated in 1941 from the Thacher School an exclusive private boarding school in Ojai, California. In 1946 he received his B.S. in Economics from Stanford University. Prior to graduating from Stanford, ``JG'' as he was most commonly known, served in the United States Army during World War II where he was stationed in the South Pacific.

At the age of twenty-nine, James inherited one-third of the JG Boswell Company after the death of his uncle, JG Boswell I. At that time the company held 150,000 acres in California. During the next half century, James spent a good portion of his time transforming the family farm located near Corcoran, California in the San Joaquin Valley.

The diversification of the JG Boswell Company created many industry leading developments. Mr. Boswell's labs developed new, highly productive seed varieties as well as technological improvements that increased their capacity. He was an innovative water user, one of the first to employ lasers when leveling fields allowing water to flow evenly and efficiently. His careful water management also included hiring agronomists to determine when and how to irrigate. This allowed the Boswell farms to produce more cotton with less water than their competitors. James remained a very private man, in spite of periods of growth and success for his enterprises, which included such things as diversification into real estate development and farming ventures in Australia. His family business maintained that private reputation throughout his life.

James Griffin Boswell served as Chairman, President and CEO of the JG Boswell Co. from 1952 and continued until his retirement in 1984. After his retirement James continued to serve on the Boswell Company Board of Directors until his passing. In addition, Mr. Boswell served on the Boards of Safeway, General Electric, Security Pacific Bank, Bank of America, and Up with People. James was a trustee of the California Nature Conservancy, Cal Tech, Thacher School, the James G. Boswell Foundation in California and the Boswell Family Foundation in Idaho. Many were the recipients of Mr. Boswell's generosity.

It goes without saying that Mr. James Griffin Boswell's dedicated involvement to the cotton industry earned him a reputation of respect and enormous appreciation from Central Valley cotton farmers, and the agriculture industry in general. James was known as the Cotton King. My colleagues and I are honored and humbled to join his family today in celebrating the life of this amazing man. His presence will be dearly missed in our community in the years to come.