Farmers in southeast Virginia indicate the state’s 2010 cotton acreage could grow significantly.



That would be the first cotton acreage increase since grain prices took off in 2007. 
“We are expecting to see anywhere from a 10 to 12 percent increase in plantings in Virginia this year,” said Spencer Neale, senior assistant director of commodity marketing for Virginia Farm Bureau Federation.

“Prices are looking very good. In fact, it is 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.”



Worldwide production of cotton declined over the past several years. In Virginia 100,000 acres annually dropped to 60,000 just a couple of years ago. “We could see our plantings of cotton increase to 70,000 acres this year,” Neale said.


“Because of the increased demand, the Chinese are back in the market really buying cotton,” he added. “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.”



In 2008, Virginia cotton growers generated more than $36.3 million in cash receipts. By acreage harvested, cotton was the state’s ninth largest crop produced.



(For national estimates see http://southeastfarmpress.com/cotton/cotton-acres-0205/index.html.)