The Virginia Farm Bureau Federation reports that cotton acreage in the Commonwealth will grow significantly in 2010, the first increase since grain prices soared in 2007.
"We are expecting to see anywhere from a 10% to 12% increase in plantings in Virginia this year," says Spencer Neale, senior assistant director of commodity marketing for the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation. "Prices are looking very good. In fact, they are the best we have seen in several years, as the economy is turning around and people are starting to buy more clothing. That is what is really helping push the upswing."
Cotton production in Virginia has dropped by as much as 40% in recent years; from a high water mark of 100,000 acres annually to as low as 60,000 acres. But VFBF says cotton could rebound to 70,000 acres in 2010.
Because of the increased demand, the Chinese are back in the market really buying cotton," Neal says. "In Virginia, we export about three-quarters of our cotton every year. China is our largest market due to the high number of clothing manufacturers in that country. China really sets the tone for the worldwide cotton market."
Even in years of downturn, cotton has proven to be an important cash crop for Virginia farmers. In 2008, Virginia cotton growers generated more than $36.3 million in cash receipts. Cotton ranks ninth in the state in terms of crop acreage produced.
Learn more about Virginia cotton and other crops statistics on the Internet. Point your browser to www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_State/Virginia/index.asp. Then select "crops" from either of the pulldown boxes labeled "Va. State Level Data" or the "Va. County Level Data" and follow prompters.