Natural State News with Context
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Agriculture is key to our state's economy, culture, and history. It is our leading industry with roughly $16 billion contributed to the Natural State economy each year. With rice, soybeans, cotton, corn, cattle, and wheat, we at Arkansas Public Media pledge to report on issues that impact not just this industry, but this leading way of life in our state.

Cotton Farmers To Get Cash Back From Boll Weevil Eradication Program

Cotton farmers in Arkansas will receive a 75 cents per acre rebate from a boll weevil eradication program that's seen success in eliminating the pest.

Arkansas farmers who grew cotton in 2017 will be getting rebate checks this spring from a boll weevil eradication program that’s been considered a success.  The rebate is 75 cents per cotton acre.

Regina Coleman, Arkansas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation’s executive director, said the rebate is possible because the foundation was able to pay off a federal loan for the program early and currently holds a cash reserve. 

Farmers paid into the program at a rate of three dollars per acre last year.  The 2017 assessment was lower than a previous rate of four dollars per acre.

The program was established in 1997 to rid Arkansas of the boll weevil, a beetle believed to be native to Central Mexico.  The pest was known for causing extensive damage to cotton crops by puncturing the boll, the bulb that eventually unfolds and displays the white cotton fiber seen on farms right before the harvest.

“It damages the boll, which in turn damages the quality and quantity of production,” Coleman said.

The boll weevil hasn’t been detected in Arkansas since 2006, but the ABWEF has been on guard against a reappearance.  Weevils are still found in southern Texas in areas closest to the Mexican border.

Coleman expects the checks to go out by late April.

“Anytime that you can do something that helps a grower with their bottom line, it’s always a good thing.”

This story is produced by Arkansas Public Media, a statewide journalism collaboration among public media organizations. Arkansas Public Media reporting is funded in part through a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, with the support of partner stations KUAR, KUAF, KASU and KTXK and from members of the public. You can learn more and support Arkansas Public Media’s reporting at Arkansas Public Media is Natural State news with context.

Ann Kenda joined Arkansas Public Media in January 2017 from Sudbury, Massachusetts. She is a graduate of Syracuse University and previously worked in public radio, commercial radio and newspaper in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. She focuses on health, justice, education and energy as part of the Arkansas Public Media team. Her stories can be found on the airwaves, and social media.
Related Content