A year like this has an astronomical impact on us.Kody Bessent, chief executive of Plains Cotton Growers — a producer group whose members grow about a third of U.S. cotton. Because of intense drought, U.S. agricultural forecasters expect domestic farmers to harvest the smallest amount of cotton since around 1868.
Why It Matters: Cotton growers in the southwest are experiencing the worst drought in over a decade. A bigger picture will not be fully available until the crop is harvested in the fall, but analysts expect increased prices for cotton goods.
- The cotton crop is expected to be about 30% less than it was last year, with the USDA predicting "some of the lowest end-of season inventories in decades." U.S. cotton is mostly used for clothing.
- Texas is the nation's top cotton producer. One Texas county agent, Kerry Siders, said that because of the intense drought, "We see that 60% of fields have reached physiological cutout."
- Beyond Cotton: Western states are also experiencing an ongoing drought. Arizona and Nevada, for example, just received a warning to reduce the amount of water they draw from the Colorado River. Nevada's Lake Mead, which produces hydroelectric power at the Hoover Dam and is the country's largest man-made reservoir, is less than a quarter full.
Drought Devastates U.S. Cotton Harvest (Wall Street Journal)
by Jenna Lee,