The board of the Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation of North Carolina voted to keep the boll weevil assessment rate at 70 cents per acre of cotton for 2013.

That amount is the same as it was for 2012.

The fee supports the foundation’s efforts to monitor cotton acreage for any re-introduction of the boll weevil, which was eradicated in the state in 1986, and to respond promptly with eradication treatments if necessary.

“Eradicating this pest was the first step, continuing to keep it out of the state remains our constant goal,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “The trapping and monitoring activity supported by this assessment helps ensure any spot re-introductions of boll weevils are quickly dealt with.”

(To see concerns about re-introduction of the weevil from hot spots in south Texas, see Boll weevil-free status must be guarded to prevent re-infestation).

Foundation contractors will install and monitor traps from late summer until after harvest and frost. Because the focus of North Carolina’s program has shifted from eradication to monitoring, farmers should anticipate the number of traps in fields will decrease.

As such, each trap will be critical, and farmers are encouraged to contact the foundation if traps are damaged or knocked down.

In 2012, just over 10,000 traps were placed and maintained in North Carolina, with each trap monitoring an average of nearly 47 acres. Farmers in 54 counties grew 429,960 certified acres of cotton. The top three cotton-growing counties were Halifax, Northampton and Edgecombe.

To allow for trapping and monitoring, cotton growers are required to certify cotton acreage information with their local U.S. Farm Service Agency office by June 30.

To learn more about the boll weevil monitoring program, go online to http://www.ncagr.gov/plantindustry/plant/entomology/BW.htm.