Cotton Acres Could Be Down While Irrigation in the South Increases

Recently, Cotton Board hosted producers from all 17 cotton producing states to a tour and information session at Cotton Inc. to demonstrate and educate producers on the work their checkoff dollars are going to support. A couple of ag commissioners were on the tour as well, Alabama’s John McMillan and South Carolina’s Hugh Weathers.
 

Monty Bane, southeast regional representative for Cotton Board comments on the number of anticipated cotton acres this year:
 

“I think it’s going to be down about 10% on the average. Certain areas are going to stay the same, but it’s going to be down a little bit.
 

SFN: Commissioner Hugh Weathers, from South Carolina, we know that cotton is a big deal in South Carolina, as well.
 

Weathers: we think cotton will hold its own, because our cotton producers in South Carolina are pretty solidly multi-generational farms. And other crops come along, and I grow peanuts as well, but cotton producers in South Carolina stick with cotton, it’s always year in and year out been a part of their rotation and a good crop to focus on.”
 

SFN: Anything you’d like to add…any of you?
 

Bane: I’ve been to a couple of these state support meetings both in Alabama and South Carolina and they’re making a big push to add irrigation to both these states that will help our cotton.
 

SFN: Well, in North Carolina is getting into an irrigation boom, are you seeing that in South Carolina:
 

Weathers: “Oh, gosh, now if….well, my brother and I just purchased two irrigation systems, and they gave us a price, but they gave us a discount if we would not only unload the system but assemble it ourselves. That just indicates what a backlog and what an investment is being made. I mean, that just says that farmers are plowing the profits of the last few years back into production so that we can keep up with the demand that hopefully Cotton Inc. is going to create around the world.
 

SFN: Commissioner McMillan, I have to confess I don’t know a lot about Alabama agriculture, but you don’t’ see a lot of irrigation in this part of the world. What about Alabama?
 

McMillan: “Alabama is very much lagging behind in irrigation. in fact, we only have about 10% of the irrigation…irrigated acreage that Georgia and Mississippi, our sister states have. But, our legislature is working on an imitative, and they’re in session as we speak, so we’re hoping that we can pick up on some of that slack.”
 


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