- The Cotton Belt spans the southern half of the United States, stretching from Virginia to California.
- Cotton production covers more than 14 million acres or about 22,000 square miles of the United States.
- Texas is the leading cotton-producing state, producing about 4.5 million bales of cotton a year.
- Cotton contributes over $1 billion to the Texas economy, ranking only behind the beef industry in total cash receipts.
- Texas produces about 25% of the entire U.S. crop and plants over 5 million acres annually. That’s over 8,000 square miles of cotton fields!
- In the U.S., cotton is regulated as a food crop.
- Cotton can be grown continuously without hurting the soil.
- The cotton industry in the United States provides jobs for more than 440,000 Americans.
- The first T-shirts were elbow and hip length undershirts issued to sailors in the U.S. navy in 1880. The shirt resembled a perfect “T” when laid out on a flat surface…which is how it got its name.
- About 31% of the U.S. cotton supply is exported.
- Every year our cotton industry exports 6 to 9 million bales of raw cotton.
Texas- Top Counties Upland Cotton
|Rank||County||Production (Bales)||Harvested Acres||Yield/Acre (Bales)|
U.S. -Top States Upland Cotton
|Rank||State||Production (Bales)||Harvested Acres||Yield/Acre (Bales)|
Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service
- Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin in 1793. This cotton gin consisted of cranks, pulleys and hooks and maintained an output of 50 pounds per day.
- The cotton gin increased cotton production and lowered costs, resulting in cotton becoming the cheapest and most widely used textile fabric in the world.
- At the cotton gin, the cotton fiber is separated from the cottonseed. The cotton fiber is compressed into bales. A bale weighs about 480 pounds.
There are three primary products derived from cotton production: cotton lint, linters, and cottonseed.
- Cotton lint is the raw fiber from the cotton plant which is pressed into bales at the cotton gin.
- The bales are purchased by textile mills and processed in stages into yarn and cloth.
- Linters are short fibers that cling to the seed.
- They provide cellulose for making items like plastics, paper products and cosmetics.
- About 2/3 of a harvested cotton crop is composed of the seed, which is crushed to separate its three products—oil, meal and hulls.
- Cottonseed oil:
- The oil is the cottonseed’s most valuable by-product.
- It is used in cooking oil, shortening, salad dressing, and in preparation of snack foods like chips, crackers and cookies.
- Products such as soaps, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and textile finishes also contain cottonseed oil.
- Cotton hulls are used for feed, fertilizer, fuel and packing.
- Meal is the second most valuable by-product of cottonseed.
- The meal is high in protein and used to feed all classes of livestock and poultry.