From: Paul Schaefer, ENN
Published December 31, 2007 10:00 PM

U.S. Organic Cotton Production Gains Ground

GREENFIELD, Mass. - U.S. acreage planted to organic cotton in 2006 increased 14% from that planted the previous year, according to a 2007 survey conducted by the Organic Trade Association (OTA) and funded by a grant from Cotton Incorporated. In results released today, the survey of organic cotton farmers from California, Arizona, Missouri, New Mexico, Tennessee, and Texas, revealed that farmers planted 6,786 acres of organic cotton (which included both organic upland and pima cotton) this year, representing a 14% increase over the 5,971 acres planted during 2006.

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Surveyed farmers project continued growth in organic cotton acreage in 2008, with as much as 883 acres more to be planted with organic cotton than were planted in 2007. The survey also found that farmers harvested 8,116 bales of organic cotton in 2006, down 16% from 2005, when 9,630 bales were harvested. Respondents cited weather and limited irrigation resources as factors in this change.

The survey also revealed a price increase in organic upland cotton from 2005 to 2006, with the average price per pound ranging from $.85 to $1.25 for in 2006. In 2005, the same type of cotton was priced between $.80 and $1.05 per pound.

Organic pima cotton ranged in price from $1.65 to $2.09 per pound in 2006, though no comparable data from 2005 were provided for comparison. The survey was mailed to 49 people in seven states; 14 farmers returned completed surveys that met the criteria for analysis (namely, they grew organic cotton in 2006).

Six additional responding farmers did not grow organic cotton in 2006. Surveyed farmers also indicated that a variety of strategies could be used to improve support for the long-term economic sustainability of U.S. organic farms, citing continued premiums over conventional products, more education throughout the supply chain, and stable demand and price as some of the potential approaches to consider.

The mission of the Organic Trade Association is to promote and protect the growth of organic trade to benefit the environment, farmers, the public and the economy. OTA envisions organic products becoming a significant part of everyday life, enhancing people's lives and the environment. As a membership-based business association, the Organic Trade Association focuses on the organic business community in North America. OTA's more than 1,600 members include farmers, processors, importers, exporters, distributors, retailers, certifiers, and more. For further information, visit OTA's web site at www.ota.com and its consumer web site at www.theorganicreport.org.

Source: Organic Trade Association

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