Cotton's Northern Expansion

April 2018

A cotton-planting boom in Kansas, Oklahoma and northern Texas is also driving related infrastructure expansion. Is cotton sustainable in this traditional grain region?

Key Points

  • U.S. cotton acreage will be up in 2018, but nowhere is that increase more transformative than in the Southwest. Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas are projected to increase planted area by 40 percent, 16 percent, and 6 percent, respectively.
  • Drivers of the expansion include: Low prices for alternative crops, declining water availability, improved cotton harvesting equipment, better cotton varieties, and the inclusion of seed cotton in the farm bill.
  • The anticipated increase in production is spurring expansion in cotton infrastructure.
  • Significant farmer investments are being made, which will help to sustain cotton as part of the crop rotation in the Southwest expansion areas.

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