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.”
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