Cotton Weaves Through Our Lives (with audio)

November 13, 2016

by Jennifer Bearden

You probably can’t go a day without touching cotton or a cotton byproduct. In 2007, according to USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, 7,099 bales of cotton were produced in our county. Each bale weighs about 480 pounds.

cottonThat’s enough cotton to make more than 1.5 million pairs of jeans or more than two billion $100 bills. That’s right. U.S. paper currency is 75 percent cotton. In 2009, we used more than 20,000 bales of cotton to produce our paper currency.

Cotton is produced in 17 states in the U.S., in an area called the cotton Belt. This stretches across the Southern U.S. from Virginia to California.

About 30 percent of our cotton is exported. Each cotton plant produces lint and seed. The lint is used to make fabrics, fishnets, coffee filters, tents and more. The cottonseed is important too. Cotton seed is separated into three products: oil, meal, and hulls. The oil is used in cooking and the meal and hulls are used as livestock, poultry and fish feed. The total economic value of cotton in the U.S. exceeds $120 billion.

      Fall Cotton - Jennifer Bearden

Cotton is currently being harvested in Okaloosa County. You can see the big bales of cotton sitting in the field in north Okaloosa County. Just remember, each bale can make 215 pairs of jeans or 1,217 T-shirts or even 313,600 $100 bills. Cotton is important to our county, our country and our world!

If you would like more information about cotton or other agricultural products in our county you can give Jennifer a call at (850) 689-5850 or email at bearden@ufl.edu

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