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King Cotton

Buddy Adamson
(800) 392-5705, ext. 4216

Alabama Cotton Producers, a division of Alabama Farmers Federation, is composed of cotton farmers from across the state involved in the production of the state's largest row crop. Cotton production in the state is deeply embedded in Alabama's history. The boll weevil devastated the South's cotton industry around 1910, but with the implementation of the Boll Weevil Eradication Program, cotton made a big comeback in the state and once again is King of row crops in Alabama. The boll weevil was honored in 1919 when a monument was erected in downtown Enterprise, Alabama as a reminder that the tiny insect pest had forced farmers to diversify their operations.

Today's cotton farmers rely on more than just the eradication program to produce a good crop. Using the latest farming techniques and biotechnology, yields have improved dramatically in the last century.

Alabama farmers planted nearly 460,000 acres of cotton in 2011. Farmers harvested 443,000 acres with estimated yields of 742 pounds per acre for a total of about 685,000 bales in 2011. Cotton is grown in 59 of Alabama's 67 counties. For more details about cotton statistics in Alabama, visit the Alabama Agricultural Statistics Service website. Top cotton-producing counties in Alabama include Limestone, Madison, Lawrence, Monroe, Colbert, Escambia, Lauderdale, Cherokee, Baldwin and Geneva, while the state ranks ninth in the nation in production.

Goals and Issues

Goals of Alabama Cotton Producers are determined by a state committee, which is elected by other producers throughout the state. Issues and challenges facing producers are evaluated each year, and priority is placed on each to determine the focus for the division's efforts.

Goals include:
  • Work to revise farm program to fit needs of cotton growers and put profitability back in cotton production.
  • Work to maintain financial safety net as part of national farm policy.
  • Work to revamp crop insurance/risk management program to make it more cost effective.
  • Work to establish water management program for crop irrigation.

The Cotton Division works with the Alabama Cotton Commission, whose function is to administer the state's research and promotion program. The division also sponsors field days and farm tours in conjunction with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.

Alabama Cotton Producers also works closely with the Department of Agronomy and Soils at Auburn University and the Alabama Cooperative Extension System to provide information for Alabama's producers. The Alabama Cotton Picksack, a newsletter published monthly during cotton growing and harvest season by the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, provides timely information to Alabama producers.

Dr. Dale Monks serves as the state's cotton specialist. Click here for an overview of cotton research and extension programs. You can also visit the Alabama Cooperative Extension System precision agriculture website for more information. The division works with Auburn University, and USDA Agricultural Research Service in identifying research needs and securing federal funds to address these needs.

In cooperation with the Alabama Farmers Federation's Wheat & Feed Grains Division, the division provides producer leadership oversight in directing the use of these funds so as to best serve the producers' needs. The Cotton Division assists the Alabama Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation in maintaining an eradicated state.

Members of the 2013 Alabama Farmers Federation State Cotton Committee are, from left, front row: Joe Mullek, Baldwin County; Second Vice Chairman Richard Edgar, Elmore County; First Vice Chairman Neal Isbell, Colbert County; Chairman Jimmy Miller, Blount County and Lance Whitehead, Fayette County; back row: Terry Wyatt, Shelby County; Andy Thornburg, Mobile County; Thomas Kirkland, Dale County; James Jordan, Pike County; Tom Ingram, Lee County; George Hodge, Madison County and Federation Cotton Division Director Buddy Adamson.

Activities and Programs

  • Work with Cotton, Inc., to inform producers of their marketing and research efforts.
  • Encourage research toward development of improved varieties, pest eradication programs and other areas of producer concerns.
  • Support government farm programs which provide for an equitable net income for cotton producers.
  • Work closely with the National Cotton Council, Southern Cotton Growers as well as other national and regional organizations on legislative issues.
  • Hold county and state informational meetings for producers.
  • Support "Cotton Counts" programs.

Alabama Farmers Federation at Work for Alabama Producers

As a part of Alabama Farmers Federation, Alabama Cotton Producers is represented at the state and national levels through departments of Governmental Affairs and National Affairs. The Department of Communications provides communications about important issues and notices through its monthly magazine, Neighbors, and biweekly newsletter, Cultivator.

The Local Connection

County Farmers Federations, with the assistance of Area Organization Directors, provide support and a mechanism to address issues on the local level. Herein lies the strength of Alabama Farmers Federation. Each county may establish its own Cotton Committee. Needs and requests from producers in the county are the beginning of policy development and the direction of Alabama Cotton Producers. You may contact your county Cotton Chairman or the Area Organization Director in your region or your County President for more information.

Why Should I be a Member of Alabama Farmers Federation and Alabama Cotton Producers?

The Alabama Farmers Federation brings farmers of all commodities together for a common cause. Together, we can accomplish more for everyone's benefit. The more producers actively participating in the Alabama Farmers Federation and Alabama Cotton Producers, the more effective the organization can be on issues affecting them. With membership in the Alabama Farmers Federation come many benefits.

Related Links

Alabama Cooperative Extension System

Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries

Boll Weevil Eradication Program

Department of Agronomy and Soils at Auburn University

National Cotton Council

Southern Cotton Growers

USDA Agricultural Research Service

Alabama Cotton Checkoff Projects

Research & Promotion Dollars At Work

Did You Know?

  • In 2011, Alabama farmers planted 460,000 acres of cotton, producing 685,000 bales with an average yield of 742 pounds per acre.
  • Alabama cotton exports account for $126.5 million each year.
  • Cotton is grown in 59 of Alabama's 67 counties
  • Alabama ranks 10th in the U.S. in cotton production
  • Record acreage was 3.8 million in 1911 and the record yield was 795 pounds per acre in 1985
  • Alabama's top producing counties are Limestone, Madison, Lawrence, Monroe, Colbert, and Escambia
  • For every $40 pair of denim jeans sold, the farmer gets $1.46. He gets 41 cents for a $35 men's shirt, and 45 cents for a $14 terry bath towel
  • One bale of cotton can produce 8,000 men's woven handkerchiefs, 850 ladies blouses and shirts, 3,000 diapers, and 1,200 pillowcases

For more information, contact Buddy Adamson, Director of Alabama Cotton Producers, P.O. Box 11000, Montgomery, AL 36191-0001. Phone: (800) 392-5705, ext. 4216.

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