The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates Arkansas farmers harvested an average 1,011 pounds of cotton per acre this year, an increase of 26 percent over the 10-year average. Nationally, the state was third in cotton yield behind California and Arizona.
The downside of this year's crop was its cost. Farm production expenses for fuel before Hurricane Katrina hit were projected to exceed $10 billion in 2005, up 25 percent from 2004. After the storm, gasoline prices reached an all-time high in Arkansas at $2.99 per gallon. Everything farmers do is related to fuel --the pickups, the tractors, even the pumps for irrigation. Production costs were so high that some producers fear there could be fewer growers next year.