Growing our way to food security: Protecting the nation’s best interests
FFVA Chair Paul Allen speaks proudly of his grandfather’s service to the nation during World War II. E.J. Powell never had to fire a bullet. He never had to kill anyone.
Powell’s job was to keep people alive. His job was too important for him to be drafted into military service. He already was working on a national security task -- feeding and clothing a nation to keep us self-reliant.
The country had hungry mouths at home and needed food and fiber for millions of men and women in uniform abroad. The U.S. government decided Powell could contribute more to the war effort by continuing to grow cotton in Georgia than to fallow his fields and trade his tractor for a tank.
Indeed, from 1940 to 1947 the Selective Service System placed Powell and other farmers in a special category, II-C, that was exempt from the draft. It was one of a very few exemptions based solely on a would-be draftee’s occupation.
Although Paul Allen did not inherit his grandfather’s land, he did inherit a sense of national purpose that drives his work for R.C. Hatton in Pahokee near Lake Okeechobee. Read more...