North Carolina's cotton growers will pay $3.50 per acre this year to protect their crop against the boll weevil. The fee is a quarter less than last year.

The assessment helps support the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Plant Industry Division's intensive trapping and monitoring program to detect any re-introductions of the boll weevil.

“The boll weevil eradication program is a great investment for North Carolina's cotton farmers,” says Britt Cobb, agriculture commissioner. “Since North Carolina has remained a weevil-free state, our cotton growers have experiences increased yields and are able to reduce overall pesticide applications. Reduced costs and higher production improve the bottom line for our farmers.”

The Plant Industry Division, incorporated with the Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation of North Carolina, implements the trapping and monitoring program in the state. Private contractors install and maintain the traps. Trapping begins in the late summer and ends after harvest and frost. A total of 133,256 traps were placed and maintained on 68,468 cotton fields last year.

To allow for trapping and monitoring, cotton farmers are required to list cotton acreage information with their local Farm Service Agency office by July 1.

The top three cotton-producing counties in the state last year were Northampton, 60,879, acres; Halifax, 59,444 acres; and Edgecombe, 48,167 acres. North Carolina ranks seventh in the nation in cotton production.