Harrison Pittman visits with Regina Coleman at the Agricultural Council of Arkansas spring board meeting in Pickens Ark

Harrison Pittman visits with Regina Coleman at the Agricultural Council of Arkansas spring board meeting in Pickens, Ark.

Arkansas cotton acreage rises above 360,000, Boll Weevil Group says

Regina Coleman, executive director of the program that oversees the state’s efforts to keep the boll weevil eradicated, said the program’s latest totals show more than 360,000 acres of cotton have been planted in Arkansas in 2016.

Arkansas producers appear to be on track to easily exceed USDA’s latest forecast for cotton acres in the state, according to figures compiled by the Arkansas Boll Weevil Eradication Program.

Regina Coleman, executive director of the program that oversees the state’s efforts to keep the boll weevil eradicated, said the program’s latest totals show more than 360,000 acres of cotton have been planted in Arkansas in 2016.

“Every time I went to a winter meeting I had to revise my acreage forecast up,” Ms. Coleman told members of the Agricultural Council of Arkansas’ board of directors at their spring meeting. “It now appears we have 362,726.6 acres of cotton in Arkansas this year.”

That figure, which could be adjusted higher as more numbers come in, would be at least 150,000 acres more than in 2015 and more than 30,000 acres above USDA’s March 31 Planting Intentions Report, which was conducted in mid-March.

Much of the increase occurred in the program’s Delta District (mostly Mississippi County), which is believed to have doubled its acres from 2015’s 65,000 to 122,000 acres in 2016. Other districts have also increased, although not to the extent of the Delta District.

Despite the upturn in acreage, Ms. Coleman said the Arkansas Boll Weevil Eradication Program plans to operate with the same number of employees it has in 2016 except for the addition of one part-time employee. “We think added efficiency will enable us to continue operations with basically the same staff.”

The per-acre assessment remains at $4 in Arkansas, she said.

The next USDA acreage forecast will be released June 30.

For more information on the Arkansas Boll Weevil Eradication Program, visit http://1.usa.gov/1Vt1hO7.

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