WOODLAND, Miss. (WTVA) -- Farmer Jan Hill and his workers were in the fields Wednesday morning harvesting the more than 1,200 acres the Chickasaw County farmer has in cotton.
This looks like a very good harvest this year, he says, as he's bringing in about two bales per acre.
Hill adds a good year would see a return of a bale-and-a-half an acre.
"Yes, it's turned out to be a real good year. Of course, the year started out dry, but we got rains starting about the middle of July, and the crops have come on. It's been a lot better than I thought it would be," says Hill.
A lot of what's grown in these Chickasaw County cotton fields will be shipped overseas, he says.
That's because the market has changed drastically over the years.
"Cotton is cheap this year. And it's not going to be as good as it could have been. Seems like the price the last two years was mighty good, but it's way down from the high," says Hill.
The cotton grower says there was a shortage of cotton two years ago.
This year, there is an excess. He says a shortage of American textile mills has created somewhat of a problem for American growers.
"A few years ago, we were using about 11 million bales a year and exporting about four. And now it's reversed," he says.
Bill Burdine is a specialist with the Mississippi State Cooperative Extension Service in Chickasaw County.
He says cotton may no longer be king of cash crops in Mississippi but it still has an important role to play.
"It's also an important crop just for crop rotation standpoints. We move from corn, cotton, soybeans and other crops, and that lets us rotate the herbicides that are used. So we're picking up other weed control," says Burdine.
He says that cotton textiles are predominantly located on foreign soil these days.
But he believes that American consumers can help change that by buying more cotton products such as t-shirts and jeans.
Both men say that the cotton harvest is near a record level this year just as soybeans have been.