In 2018 Florida farmers planted over 115, 000 acres of cotton with over 5,000 acres in the Suwannee Valley area. Cotton production has a long history in our area and we are seeing renewed interest in this crop.
If you go back 100 years in our area, cotton was the money crop. Many farmers grew cotton and many town had a buying point and/or Gin. The arrival of the bull weevil and low prices reduced planted acres. As a result, farmers turned to other commodities, primarily tobacco in our area, for a cash crop.
Cotton has many uses beyond fabric and clothes. It is an excellent rotation crop for other southeastern crops. Cotton is also used as a livestock feed, cottonseed oil can be used for frying and other food products. In fact, cotton fiber is even used in the dollar bills we spend.
Cotton is a beautiful crop especially this time of year right before the harvest. In fact many travel to our area to see the fields that look like snow.
Many cotton producing areas have suffered sufficient damage as the results of hurricanes Florence and Michael. We are very fortunate that the impacts in our area were lower. Many areas suffered total crop losses, or at least significant yield and quality reduction.
Cotton has a long history in our area and continues to be an important part of the local economy.
- Texas and Georgia are the leading cotton producing states.
- The first cotton planted in the United States was in Florida by the Spanish in the 1500’s.
- For years it was against the law to process cotton in England. This was to protect the wool and sheep industry.
- In 2018, the US planted approximately 13 and a half million acres of cotton.
- A bale of cotton weighs approximately 500 pounds and is 55″ tall, 28″ wide and 21″ thick.
- Cotton is considered one of the most valuable products in the US.
- Cotton fibers have been found in caves that are thousands of years old.
So remember at your next clothing purchase how comfortable cotton products are and their value to the local and national economy.