Commissioner Troxler: Boll Weevil Assessment Stays at 75 cents per Acre

The state’s boll weevil assessment will stay at 75 cents per acre of cotton. The money from the assessment is used to fund a trapping program to monitor cotton acreage for any re-introduction of boll weevils. The pest was eradicated from the state in 1987. Trapping has helped address any spot re-introductions to keep the pest from becoming re-established.

  • The Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation recently set the annual rate for the boll weevil assessment, keeping it at the 2017 rate of 75 cents per acre.
  • Boll weevils were a highly destructive pest that seriously threatened cotton production in the south. Cotton farmers who have been in business for a long time may remember a time before the boll weevil was eradicated.
  • Thanks to trapping and monitoring efforts on certified cotton acreage, the state has kept its weevil-free status since 1987, when it was first deemed eradicated.
  • This program is a great investment for farmers who already have a lot of variables to manage in raising a crop. We certainly don’t want to see the return of this devastating pest, and this program helps us keep an eye on cotton fields in case of any spot re-introductions.
  • It’s hard to imagine what cotton production would look like now if the eradication program had not been a success. Today, farmers in 53 of the state’s 100 counties grow more than 363,000 acres of cotton. That number is a 33 percent increase over the 2016 figures.
  • Our top cotton-producing counties are Halifax, Northampton and Martin.
  • Through the program, contractors will install and monitor traps from late summer until after harvest and frost for the presence of weevils.
  • In 2016, more than 7,200 traps were installed and maintained, with each trap monitoring an average of 49 acres.
  • Since the program is now focused on monitoring efforts, fewer traps are placed, which makes each trap critical. Growers are asked to report damaged or knocked down traps to the foundation to ensure adequate monitoring.
  • Cotton growers are also required to certify their cotton acreage information with their local Farm Service Agency office by July 15 to allow for trapping and monitoring.