RALEIGH — The board of the Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation of North Carolina has set the 2014 boll weevil assessment at $1 per acre of cotton. This amount is 30 cents more than the 2013 assessment and reflects the foundation’s support of a new National Cotton Council initiative for a boll weevil buffer zone in south Texas.
In addition, the fee supports the foundation’s efforts to monitor cotton acreage in North Carolina for any re-introduction of the boll weevil and to respond promptly with eradication treatments if necessary. The boll weevil was eradicated in the state in 1986.
“Cotton remains a significant crop for North Carolina, and our cotton growers want to keep the boll weevil as far away from the state as possible, which is why the National Cotton Council’s initiative has the support of both the N.C. Cotton Producers Association and the N.C. Farm Bureau,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Overall, the boll weevil assessment is an excellent investment for growers, ensuring any spot re-introductions of boll weevils in this state are identified and dealt with quickly.”
Foundation contractors will install and monitor traps from late summer until after harvest and frost. Because the focus of North Carolina’s program has shifted from eradication to monitoring, the number of traps in fields has decreased. As such, each trap is critical, and farmers are encouraged to contact the foundation if traps are damaged or knocked down.
More than 8,600 traps were placed and maintained in North Carolina last year, with each trap monitoring an average of 52.6 acres. To allow for trapping and monitoring, cotton growers are required to certify cotton acreage information with their local U.S. Farm Service Agency office by July 15.
Farmers in 54 counties grew 453,096 certified acres of cotton last year. The top three cotton-growing counties were Halifax, Northampton and Martin.