Not Quite High Cotton: Demand is Down for Area Cash Crop

By: Bergen Baucom Email
By: Bergen Baucom Email

Panhandle farmers have counted on several cash crops over the years. Peanuts have historically been number one, but recently, cotton had made a huge comeback- until this year.

Many farmers harvest their peanuts and then plant that same field with cotton. It's a process called rotating crops. But this year, cotton appears to be in trouble. The global demand for the crop has dropped significantly, worrying area farmers who depend on the crop as part of their livelihood.

Last harvest, cotton sold for around a dollar fifty to two dollars a pound. But over the past 30 days, the price has dropped to around 67-cents. Local farmers said some of the factors that effect the price of cotton are not only out of their control, but also out of the country.

"They found another 3.5 million bails in India that was not accounted for, so we're having world record carry over" said cotton farmer, Craig Bishop.

Even if current cotton production came to a complete halt, Bishop said there would still be enough to meet more than 6-months of the world's demand. And since cotton production never stops, there will most likely be a glut by the time local farmers harvest in September.

"You know, high input costs and selling the cotton for a low amount, that's a scary thought" Bishop said. "I probably plan on just holding onto it and seeing if something happens on the world scene that may tighten the supply up" he added. Farmers says 90-cents per pound of cotton is a good average. They said they're hoping to see that price return in future harvests.


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