U.S. growers of organic cotton increased plantings of organic cotton acreage by 12 percent in 2010 over that planted in 2009, according to preliminary data collected by the Organic Trade Association (OTA) in a survey funded by Cotton Incorporated.
Analysis of available data collected by an OTA survey of U.S. organic cotton producers and incorporating additional data from the Texas Organic Cotton Marketing Cooperative (TOCMC) put planted acres for 2010 at 11,827 acres, up from an estimated 10,521 acres planted in 2009. The 2010 number is the highest since 2000, when U.S. farmers planted 13,596 acres to organic cotton.
Although survey data show that planting has increased each year since 2003, overall cotton acreage is 15 percent lower than in 2000 and 52 percent below the high of 24,625 acres planted in 1995.
The 2009 and Preliminary 2010 U.S. Organic Cotton Production & Marketing Trends report produced by OTA as a result of the analysis estimates that approximately 9,321 acres of organic cotton were harvested in the United States in 2009 and increased to approximately 11,262 acres in 2010.
Meanwhile, bale production increased eight percent between 2001 (the earliest available bale data) and 2009, to reach 10,731 bales produced in 2009. Of these, 10,569 bales were upland cotton, and the remaining 72 bales were pima cotton. The number of bales produced in 2010 is not yet available. Because acreage data from the Texas Organic Cotton Marketing Cooperative (TOCMC) were not available before 2007, earlier bale data, which do include TOCMC tallies, are likely the most accurate reflection of historical production trends.
Looking ahead, farmers project 2011 plantings will increase by about 24 acres while they will grow by about 13 percent, totaling 1,513 additional acres, in the next five years.
Survey responses from farmers suggest that this growth will not accelerate unless stronger prices and consistent market demand entice organic growers to expand their organic cotton acreage and/or conventional growers to transition to organic production. Other barriers to increased production identified in the survey include high management requirements and competition from international growers.
Founded in 1985, OTA is the membership-based business association for organic agriculture and products in North America. OTA's Board of Directors is democratically elected by its members, and its mission is to promote and protect the growth of organic trade to benefit the environment, farmers, the public and the economy.
Organic Trade Association (OTA)