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The New “Fabric of Our Lives”? Cotton Farmers Turn to Corn and Soy

The National Cotton Council’s recent poll of crop farmers (the aptly named Annual Early Season Planting Intentions Survey) found that Mid-Southern farmers–those who farm in Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee–plan on planting 1 million acres of cotton in 2013, down from 2.03 million acres in 2013.

Nationwide, U.S. cotton growers are planting significantly less of what was once America’s preeminent fiber–only 9.01 million acres totally, down 27% compared to last year’s crops. Half of the U.S.’s cotton is produced in the Southwest–Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas–but even in that region, growers predict they’ll plant 25% less crops.

Across the country, U.S. cotton producers expect to plant 9.01 million acres of cotton in 2013, a decline of almost 27 percent from 2012. In the Southwest, where about half the country’s cotton acreage is located, farmers expect to plant about 25 percent fewer acres.

Gary Adams, the National Cotton Council’s VP, said that the sinking price of cotton and higher returns on corn and soybean crops have dissuaded many farmers, but reminded NCC delegates that the Intentions Survey is only that–a survey of intentions, not a guarantee of results.