Cotton harvest declines in Northeast Mississippi


LEE COUNTY, Miss. (WTVA) – It’s the time of year again to see fields of white.

Cotton season is in full swing as farmers begin to harvest the crop, but how does 2013 compare to years past?

Like every job, there are roadblocks. “You’re at the mercy of somebody no matter what you do,” said Rett Swann, farmer.

For farmers, the roadblock is Mother Nature. “It’s one of those things,” Swann continued. “You can’t control it.”

But the job must be done.

“You say you try not to worry about it, but you do,” Swann explained. “You just get through it. Every year has its own challenges.”

This year’s challenge falls during cotton season, and it’s causing farmers to grow less.

Some farmers in Northeast Mississippi said the problem with the crop this year is that the soil was too wet at the beginning of the season, which delayed planting until late May, and they say for that reason, the cotton yield will be lower.

“It would just get dry enough to get back in the field, and then it would rain again,” Swann said.

For Jason Scruggs, his operation has about 2,100 acres of cotton this year, which is down from an average of roughly 5,000 acres.

“This year is about the least we’ve had since 1992,” Scruggs said.

He said there’s something else that hindered 2013’s season.

“China really dictates the cotton market,” Scruggs explained. “We’re depending on them, so to speak, to dictate the price of cotton.”

According to the NASDAQ, U.S. cotton prices are at its lowest level since January, but how does it compare to last year?

“Overall, I think it’s gonna be a decent year,” Scruggs said. “It’s gonna be, more or less, an average year. It won’t be quite as good as last year for us.”

“It’s done fair, opposed to being very bad,” Swann said. “It wasn’t last year. Last year was really good for us.”

The average price of cotton per pound is about 80 cents.