Home » NEWS » Agribusiness » Fins, bolls rebound

Fins, bolls rebound

Catfish and cotton show new life

While most producers enjoyed a bounce-back year in 2010, two commodities that many had given up for dead enjoyed Lazarus-like resurrections.

Mississippi’s catfish industry has been on a downward spiral for years. High input costs, rising foreign competition and other factors have driven many out of aquaculture.

That attrition led to an increase in the value of the state’s catfish this year, according to Roger Barlow, president of The Catfish Institute and executive vice president of Catfish Farmers of America. It is projected to be up a mere 1 percent compared to 2009.  But the state’s catfish had not registered an increase in value in four years.

“Supply is tight and demand is very strong,” said Barlow.

Meanwhile, cotton showed new life. Just a few years ago, many in the agriculture community were worried that cotton might be dead. The sharp drop in planting led to a major reduction in cotton infrastructure such as gins and storage facilities closed.

Last year only fed those fears. According to Darrin Dobbs, Extension crop specialist, growers’ yield averaged 687 pounds per acre in 2009, the lowest in nearly a decade.

Dobbs said the 2010 crop looked bad as late as August, then made a comeback. Now, he expects growers to see average yields right at the state record of 1,024 pounds per acre set in 2004.

The total value of cotton in 2010 is projected to be $363 million, an increase of 141 percent over 2009.

“Mississippi cotton had the best start to the season that we have seen in a long time; it warmed early, had plenty of soil moisture and very few replants,” Dobbs said.

BEFORE YOU GO…

… we’d like to ask for your support. More people are reading the Mississippi Business Journal than ever before, but advertising revenues for all conventional media are falling fast. Unlike many, we do not use a pay wall, because we want to continue providing Mississippi’s most comprehensive business news each and every day. But that takes time, money and hard work. We do it because it is important to us … and equally important to you, if you value the flow of trustworthy news and information which have always kept America strong and free for more than 200 years.

If those who read our content will help fund it, we can continue to bring you the very best in news and information. Please consider joining us as a valued member, or if you prefer, make a one-time contribution.

Click for more info

About Wally Northway

Leave a Reply