ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – For only the third time in 50 years, cotton prices have risen above $1 per pound.
To the average person, that doesn’t seem like much, but to the Big Country’s cotton farmers, it makes a world of difference.
Cotton prices usually settle around 60-70 cents per pound, but now have reached closer to $1.09, the first time those prices have risen above a dollar since 2010-2011.
Raindrops covered the miles and miles of cotton fields lining Highway 277, as farmers begin to think about their harvest in the coming weeks.
Rex Ford, manager of the Stamford Farmer’s Co-op, said that this has been the best year for yields and selling price in the last four years.
Ford, who has managed the cotton gin in Stamford since 1992, said the ample rainfall we had this spring allowed the cotton to make it through the hot, dry summer heat.
However, he also said that another good rainfall at the end of August could have made this already good year for cotton an even better one.
While some areas of the Big Country received an extra round of rain, other areas that were not so fortunate will still reap the benefits of the high cotton prices.
Taylor County Extension Agent Steve Estes said while farmers won’t be rolling in money after this harvest, the high prices will allow them to offset debts created over the past few down years.
“It’s a big benefit,” Estes said. “To help cover some gaps in cost and losses over the last couple years.”
He said some cotton farmers can pour close to $200 into one acre of land.
“You can only take so many bad years in a row,” Estes said. “Either low yield or low prices, that it really brings a farmer down as far as his overall operation.”
Estes said that this year is considerably different, and that even without a perfect yield, farmers can still benefit and try to get ahead for next season.
Many cotton farmers won’t begin harvesting for a few weeks, however, Rex Ford wanted to leave them with a bit of advice.
“Enjoy it, because we don’t see it very often.” Ford said.
The expectation this year is for cotton prices to settle around $1.25 per pound, but prices have gotten as high as $2 per pound in 2010.