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Drought has killed the cotton crop in Texas. In wetter Louisiana, it’s helping spark a revival.

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A punishing drought in Texas could possibly be a boon for cotton farmers in Louisiana and Mississippi, serving to gasoline a rebound within the fluffy fiber after historic lows within the earlier two years.

The dry spell affecting a lot of the West has worn out a whole bunch of hundreds of acres of cotton in Texas, by far the nation’s greatest producer. Cotton is a really thirsty crop; federal agriculture officers lately downgraded the anticipated yield as increasingly farmers are being compelled to desert their fields because of the dry circumstances.

The misfortune of some Texas farmers may enhance income for others within the Deep South. Whereas some farmers dropped cotton from their fields in 2020 and 2021 on account of low costs, many have returned to reap the benefits of costs that have been rebounding even earlier than the drought took its toll.

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“For us it was market-driven,” mentioned Marshall Hardwick, who farms about 8,000 whole acres in Tensas Parish along with his brother and father. The Hardwicks upped their cotton acreage from about 1,500 acres final yr to 2,400 this yr, changing corn, he mentioned. 

Along with its recovering worth, cotton has the good thing about requiring much less nitrogen fertilizer, which has been buying and selling at traditionally excessive costs, Hardwick, a fourth-generation farmer, famous.

Different farmers have additionally gotten again in to the cotton sport. Will Ratcliff, who farms about 3,500 acres close to St. Joseph, the Tensas Parish seat, had dropped cotton as a crop for the final two years. However this yr, he is going again in full-bore, with 1,100 acres planted.

The worth of cotton — about $1.10 per pound when he determined to get again in — was the primary driver, he mentioned. 

“Greenback cotton usually works,” he mentioned. In 2020, the value of cotton fell beneath 60 cents per pound. 

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Sam Driver prepares bins filled with cotton seeds to be planted within the Mississippi Delta. (Photograph by Chris Granger | The Occasions-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate)

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The worth has risen as excessive as $1.33 per pound, and is now hovering round $1.13.

Louisiana and Mississippi farms have traditionally been good cotton states. Mississippi has had near 2 million acres of cotton fields and Louisiana had round one million acres as lately because the Nineteen Nineties. However as farmers started to diversify into different, extra worthwhile crops within the late Nineteen Nineties, the share of farmland dedicated to cotton dropped dramatically. Final yr, Louisiana had solely about 110,000 acres and Mississippi about 440,000. 

Keep up-to-date on the newest on Louisiana’s coast and the atmosphere. Enroll at this time.

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This yr, each have rebounded. Louisiana’s improve is extra dramatic: Cotton farmers planted greater than 170,000 acres within the state this yr, a 55% improve. In Mississippi, the acreage dedicated to cotton jumped to about 490,000 acres, a state agriculture official mentioned.

As the value of oil rose in current months, the value of petroleum-based artificial fibers additionally went up. That has helped additional drive up demand for cotton, together with elevated client demand for garments and different cotton merchandise. Farmers took notice.

Not solely are extra acres being planted in Louisiana, however the harvest forecasts are stable, in response to the LSU AgCenter’s Matt Foster, a cotton specialist.

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“I am an above-average crop,” he mentioned. One key hazard to a cotton crop — bugs — has not been dangerous this yr, he mentioned. 

Foster expects the state’s cotton farmers to common about 1,100 kilos of lint per acre, a measure of the cotton yield. That is above the traditional common of about 1,000 kilos of lint per acre, and effectively above the 960 that farmers bought final yr, he mentioned. 

Each Hardwick and Ratcliff have already offered most of their anticipated crop, that means they will not get prime greenback for all of it. However each mentioned they have been a part of teams that helped market their cotton, that means not less than a part of their crop could possibly be offered on the larger costs. 







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A cotton seedling. (Photograph by Chris Granger | The Occasions-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate)




Going ahead, farmers will proceed to control market circumstances, Ratcliff mentioned.

“I might hope we’re in that $1.10 vary by the point the smoke clears subsequent yr,” he mentioned. 

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Hardwick mentioned he expects the great costs for cotton to proceed. He is assured sufficient that he invested $650,000 in a picker that may solely be used with cotton.

“We see that pattern persevering with,” he mentioned. “I feel the demand is there.”





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Louisiana

Louisiana Officials, Strategic Biofuels and Port of Columbia Host Groundbreaking to Kick Off Infrastructure Improvements

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Louisiana Officers, Strategic Biofuels and Port of Columbia Host Groundbreaking to Kick Off Infrastructure Enhancements | Enterprise | valdostadailytimes.com

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Ruston native to ride on Louisiana’s float in Rose Parade 2023

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MONROE, La. (KNOE) – Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser stopped in Monroe on Dec. 8, 2022, to advertise Louisiana’s float showing within the Rose Parade in Pasadena. Nungesser stated having a float within the Rose Parade is all about selling Louisiana tourism.

The float appeared within the parade for the primary time in Jan. 2022. In Jan. 2023, nation music artist and Feminine Vocalist of the Yr, Lainey Wilson will carry out on the float.

“I’m additionally so excited to announce I will probably be acting on the Louisiana float within the 2023 Rose Parade on Jan. 2nd. I can’t wait to showcase Louisiana on the worldwide stage,” stated Wilson.

The extravagant float will hit the streets of Pasadena on Jan. 2, 2023. Nungesser stated after Louisiana’s float was within the Rose Parade for the primary time this yr, louisianatravel.com noticed an 800 % enhance in exercise.

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“We noticed individuals reserving Mardi Gras journeys, family-friendly, reasonably priced, protected Mardi Gras, which North Louisiana has an abundance of everywhere in the state,” stated Nungesser.

He additionally stated the state noticed a double-digit enhance in out-of-state guests touring to Louisiana for Mardi Gras.

“So it’s working, persons are coming right here, they’re assembly unimaginable individuals, they’re going house and telling their household and pals, you bought to go to Louisiana,” Nungesser stated.

Twenty competition queens from throughout the state will probably be ambassadors on the float, which means they’ll assist adorn it, in addition to experience on it. One of many ambassadors is Ruston native and Queen Dixie Gem Peach, Emma Carter.

“At first I used to be actually shocked, however then I used to be tremendous excited, and simply studying extra concerning the journey I’ve simply been actually excited and may’t wait to go,” stated Carter.

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Carter stated she’s trying ahead to sharing every part North Louisiana has to supply.

“To simply share concerning the small city, massive love sort of factor. I imply Ruston isn’t very massive nevertheless it’s undoubtedly particular and residential to me,” stated Carter.



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Florida property insurance company leaving Louisiana and other states

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Commissioner of Insurance coverage State of Louisiana Jim Donelon

Louisiana Commissioner of Insurance coverage Jim Donelon says a Florida-based firm that writes owners insurance coverage is leaving Louisiana and several other different states due to an insurance coverage disaster in Florida and never circumstances in Louisiana.

Donelon says Florida-based insurer UPC introduced final 12 months it could be leaving Louisiana and several other different states.

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“They’re departing on an accelerated foundation now as a result of the corporate has been taken over on an accelerated foundation by their regulator there within the state of Florida,” Donelon stated.

The corporate has about 36,000 policyholders in Louisiana and can cease renewing insurance policies starting subsequent 12 months.

Donelon stated UPC was in hassle earlier than Hurricane Ian devastated Florida in September. Donelon says Florida’s insurance coverage market is in serious trouble.

“And as we converse they’re going into one other particular session referred to as by the governor this 12 months to attempt to repair their badly damaged market in Florida,” Donelon stated.

Louisiana didn’t get hit by a hurricane this 12 months, however Donelon says the truth that Ian hit Florida additionally hurts Louisiana policyholders.

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“ What occurred in Florida has prompted issues for a number of corporations doing enterprise in our state and different coastal states,” he stated.

Donelon added he’s aggressively making an attempt to get extra insurance coverage corporations to maneuver right here. He declined to supply an estimate of the variety of insurers who’ve left Louisiana however others estimate ten have left within the final 12 months.



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