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OTA notes organic U.S. cotton grows for second consecutive year

Greenfield, Mass. – For the second consecutive year, U.S. acreage planted with organic cotton increased, according to research compiled by the Organic Trade Association (OTA) and funded by Cotton Inc.

Analysis of available data found that the total acres planted in organic cotton grew by 9%, to 9,279 in 2008 from 8,510 the prior year.

Harvest acreage figures for 2008 are not yet available.

Other findings showed a significant boost – a 73% increase – in bales of organic cotton harvested in 2007 over the prior year. That figure translates to 14,025 bales last year compared to 8,116 in 2006. The U.S. organic cotton harvest represents about 2.1% of total global organic cotton production.

OTA surveyed organic cotton farmers in the United States, who grew organic cotton in 2007 to compile the research, then combined those results with acreage and harvest figures from the Texas Organic Cotton Marketing Cooperative.

Of the 62 farms surveyed, 10 returned surveys that met the criteria for analysis.

OTA's survey asked about the types of cotton planted and harvested. Survey respondents planted 2,590 acres of organic upland cotton and 245 acres of organic pima cotton. In 2007, survey respondents harvested 1,716 acres of organic upland cotton and 225 acres of organic pima cotton.

Other survey findings revealed that changes are taking place within the organic cotton market. Organic cotton farmers saw the range in average price they received per pound increase to between $1 and $1.50 in 2007 from between 85 cents and $1.25 for organic upland cotton in 2006.

Organic pima cotton farmers reported a similar increase in price, to $1.05 to $3 in 2007 from $1.65 to $2.09 in 2006.

Additional findings from this year's survey confirm that several challenges lie ahead for U.S. organic cotton producers. They remain in need of educational and economic resources to support organic practices and build awareness of and access to high-quality markets for their organic cotton products.

Still, further survey data and projections from farmers forecast about a 29% growth from 2008 in production of U.S. organic cotton to approximately 12,000 acres.

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