Cotton farmers in Texas, where about 40% of the US crop is produced, are facing a severe drought costing the industry billions.
A lack of rain and extreme heat are forcing growers in the state to give up nearly 70% of the acres of cotton they planted earlier this year, according to a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) forecast.
“It’s historically been one of the toughest years of growth we’ve ever seen, all the way back to the 1950s,” said Kody Bessent, CEO of Plains Cotton Growers, which represents farmers in the 42 counties of the High Plains region in the north of Texas. .
The US is the world’s largest exporter of cotton and exports most of the cotton it grows. But this year, U.S. cotton production is expected to fall to about 14 million bales, a 21% drop from last year, the USDA says.
UKTN traveled to Texas, the country’s largest cotton-producing state, to hear from the farmers and others in the industry who are being hit hard.
Watch the video for more information.