Local News

N.C. Cotton Could Be Gone With the Wind

Posted July 14, 1998

— Texas is the largest cotton grower in the country. As the sizzling heat sears cotton plants, American farmers could lose out to overseas competition.

North Carolina has its own share of cotton crops. While local growers may be making money now, the Texas heat wave will cost them in the long run.

The current situation is good for Carolina cotton growers. The yield looks to be much better than last year. However, looks can be deceiving. It is all because of events on the other side of the world.

Dry weather is devastating the Texas cotton crop. North Carolina cotton growers are more fortunate. So far they are having a good production year.

"I feel first of all very sorry for them because most of the time in this business for someone to make a boon in a crop someones got to lose it you know and we've been there too," cotton grower Billy Carter said.

The loss in Texas means a gain for North Carolina farmers whose crops are doing well.

"It helped us in prices that drought situation in Texas, and we estimate that they're going to lose at least two million bales from what was predicted has brought our prices up to the higher 70's," said John Cooper, who is with Carolina's Cotton Growers Co-op.

The 70 cent per pound price might only be a short term gain. China and other countries are increasing their cotton export on the world market, causing problems for U.S. cotton.

"Overall when the crop is harvested the world situation will overrule and that could bring prices down unfortunately into the 60 cent range," Cooper said.

Billy Carter says that he is frustrated with the situation because there are so many outside influences.

"Halifax county is not as far away from China as it used to be and we're greatly affected by what's happening in other parts of the world," Carter said.

Bill Carter farms a little more than 1400 acres and will be keeping a close eye on the cotton market.

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